Trump lawyers quit hours after indictment

Lawyers complained repeatedly about working with previously blamed attorney on Trump legal team ahead of departure

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Saturday 10 June 2023 11:12 EDT

Why has Donald Trump been indicted again?

Two lawyers working for former President Donald Trump have quit his legal team just a day after he was indicted on federal charges in connection to his handling of classified information.

“For purposes of fighting the Greatest Witch Hunt of all time, now moving to the Florida Courts, I will be represented by Todd Blanche, Esq., and a firm to be named later,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social on Friday.

“I want to thank Jim Trusty and John Rowley for their work, but they were up against a very dishonest, corrupt, evil, and ‘sick’ group of people, the likes of which has not been seen before. We will be announcing additional lawyers in the coming days,” he added.

Mr Rowley and Mr Trusty issued a joint statement in which they said that they had “tendered our resignations as counsel to President Trump, and we will no longer represent him on either the indicted case or the January 6 investigation”.

They noted that the indictment against Mr Trump has been filed in Miami, saying that “this is a logical moment for us to step aside and let others carry the cases through to completion”.

They added that it had been “an honor to have spent the last year defending him, and we know he will be vindicated in his battle against the Biden Administration’s partisan weaponization of the American justice system”.

Mr Trusty and Mr Rowley now join Timothy Parlatore in the growing ranks of lawyers who have departed Mr Trump’s legal teams.

Shortly after leaving, Mr Parlatore spoke to CNN, sharing allegations that another lawyer, Boris Epshteyn, had created discord within the group of attorneys.

Mr Trusty appeared on cable news on Thursday evening and on Friday morning defending Mr Trump before issuing his resignation statement alongside Mr Rowley later on Friday.

Three days before Mr Trump was indicted, Mr Trusty and Mr Rowley were two out of the three Trump lawyers who met with Justice Department officials, including Special Counsel Jack Smith, as they attempted to evade further legal action against the former president.

Two sources told The New York Times that Mr Trusty and Mr Rowley complained on several occasions about working alongside Mr Epshteyn. One person said this was part of the reasoning behind the lawyers leaving the legal team, adding that Mr Trusty and Mr Rowley are still on good terms with Mr Trump.

“We have no plans to hold media appearances that address our withdrawals or any other confidential communications we’ve had with the president or his legal team,” Mr Trusty and Mr Rowley said.

Unlike Mr Trusty and Mr Rowley, Mr Parlatore appeared on CNN to blame Mr Epshteyn following his departure.

The 37-count indictment against Mr Trump was unsealed on Friday afternoon, revealing that Mr Trump allegedly shared classified documents with unauthorised persons on two separate occasions.

The charges against him include: willful retention of national defence information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations.

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