It appears that Trump is finding it hard to get top-notch lawyers to work on his many legal fights, ending up with second-tier advocates.
Former President Donald Trump and his team have spent days since the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago trying to assemble a “team of respected lawyers” but keep getting rejected, according to The Washington Post.
“Everyone is saying no,” a prominent Republican lawyer told the outlet.
Jon Sale, a former Watergate prosecutor who is now a prominent Florida defense attorney, told the Post he turned Trump down last week.
While Corcoran and Trusty submitted filings in the case, Trump’s other attorneys have been tasked with making his case to the public in media appearances.
The most visible Trump attorney has been Christina Bobb, a former anchor at the right-wing outlet OAN, where she pushed election conspiracy theories that got the network sued by defamation by Dominion Voting Systems. Bobb’s federal legal experience is largely limited to a “handful of trademark infringement cases on behalf of CrossFit” while she worked for a law firm in San Diego, according to the Post. Bobb has already undermined Trump’s baseless claim that the FBI may have “planted” evidence during the search while no one was looking, revealing that Trump and his family were able to watch the entire raid through CCTV.
Trump’s other Florida-based lawyer is Lindsey Halligan, a Florida insurance lawyer that handles residential and commercial claims but has never handled a federal case.
Trump’s other attorney in the documents investigation is Alina Habba, who has a small practice near Trump’s Bedminster, N.J., golf club. She previously worked as general counsel at a parking garage company. Habba has also represented Trump in his dubious lawsuits against the New York Times, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee and his niece, Mary Trump.
I read earlier (though I cannot find the link now) that Trump apparently liked Bobb, who is a personality on the far right network OAN, because she looked good on TV.
Most lawyers like to work on high-profile cases with high-profile clients because they get a lot of free publicity and this definitely has both. So why the reluctance in this case? Because Trump is a terrible client. It is bad enough that he often does not pay people for the services they render. Lawyers might be willing to overlook that in return for the publicity, seeing that as payment in kind. But Trump is terrible in other ways too.
Also speaking under anonymity, another lawyer spoke about the difficulties faced when representing Trump. They said that during his presidency, Trump would tweet about the Mueller probe against his legal team’s advice. Several other people also told The Post that Trump was an impossible client, and worried if they would be compensated for their work.
“In olden days, he would tell firms representing him was a benefit because they could advertise off it. Today it’s not the same,” said Michael Cohen, a former Trump lawyer who has since become a fierce critic of the former president.
“He’s also a very difficult client in that he’s always pushing the envelope, he rarely listens to sound legal advice, and he wants you to do things that are not appropriate, ethically or legally,” Cohen added.
We know that Trump lies like he breathes. which is bad enough. But lawyers want you to be truthful at least with them so that they are not blindsided by new information. But Trump lies to them too. So in the end they end up looking foolish when their statements get publicly. contradicted.
For example, Trump is demanding that the affidavit that was prepared by the department of justice to convince the judge to issue the warrant to search Mar-a-Lago be released, even though his aides are warning that such a move usually does not end up well. Such affidavits usually lay out the case that is being considered against the target, with evidence already gained.
So why is he insistent on the release despite the potential of damage to him? It is speculated that Trump is furious about reports that someone in his circle is an FBI mole and thinks that the affidavit might provide clues to expose the identity. His desire to know would provide him with the short-term satisfaction of revenge against that person but at the risk of long-term damage. But Trump does not strategize well.
Now it appears that the judge is asking the FBI to provide him with a redacted version of the affidavit before deciding next week whether it should be released. Such redacted versions usually remove any indications of who the sources of information are, so Trump might end up with the worst of both worlds, with damaging information released and not get any indication of who he thinks has betrayed him.
The judge said his decision was driven in part because it was important that the public have as much information as it could, though he conceded that the extensive redactions that are expected from the justice department could render the document essentially meaningless.
Reinhart’s ruling came after the justice department disclosed for the first time that the criminal investigation surrounding the FBI’s seizure of classified and top secret documents from Mar-a-Lago – in potential violation of the Espionage Act – was still in its early stages.
The justice department, represented in court by Jay Bratt, the chief of the counterintelligence section, argued against the release of any portion of the affidavit, saying it would reveal a roadmap of the investigation and chill cooperation from other witnesses who may come forward.
For big-name lawyers who already have a steady stream of rich clients, there is such a thing as bad publicity. For unknown lawyers, not so much. Hence the willingness of low-rent attorneys to work for Trump.