By Andrew Goudsward
(Reuters) – Former U.S. President Donald Trump has assembled overlapping teams of lawyers as he balances mounting legal peril with his 2024 election campaign to return to the White House.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges in each of the three cases he has been indicted.
Here are the main lawyers defending Trump:
NEW YORK STATE HUSH MONEY CASE
Trump was charged in April with falsifying business records to orchestrate hush money payments to a porn actress before the 2016 election.
* Todd Blanche: A former federal prosecutor in New York andprominent white-collar defense lawyer, Blanche resigned from NewYork law firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft to represent Trump.He has previously represented former Trump 2016 campaign chairPaul Manafort and Igor Fruman, an associate of former New YorkMayor and Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, in a campaignfinance case. Blanche has also represented Trump legal andpolitical adviser Boris Epshteyn. * Susan Necheles: A longtime New York criminal defenselawyer, Necheles was once counsel to Venero Mangano, anunderboss for the well-known Genovese organized crime family.Necheles was on the team that defended the Trump Organization ina 2022 tax fraud trial.
MAR-A-LAGO US CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS CASE
U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith accused Trump in June of retaining sensitive national security documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after he left office and conspiring to thwart the U.S. government’s attempts to retrieve them.
* Todd Blanche: Blanche is also one of the lead lawyersdefending Trump in the documents case. * Christopher Kise: Kise was Florida solicitor general from2003 until 2007 under then-state-Attorney-General Charlie Crist,who later became governor of the state. Kise also advised formerRepublican Governor Rick Scott, now a U.S. senator. Kise joinedTrump’s legal team shortly after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago inAugust 2022 as part of the documents probe. Kise is alsorepresenting Trump in a civil fraud case brought by the New Yorkstate attorney general, which is set to go to trial later thisyear. * Stephen Weiss: Weiss was a lawyer at the Cadwalader firmwho moved with Blanche when he left the firm to represent Trump.
2020 ELECTION CASE
Smith indicted Trump for a second time this month, this time over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Prosecutors charged Trump with defrauding the U.S. government and conspiring to deprive voters of their right to fair election by attempting to interfere in the counting of votes and prevent Congress from formally certifying the election, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.
* John Lauro: A longtime Florida criminal defense lawyer,Lauro joined Trump’s defense team as it became clear that Smithwas moving toward an indictment in the 2020 election portion ofhis probe. Lauro previously represented another Trump lawyer,Christina Bobb, in the documents investigation. He also defendedformer U.S. basketball referee Tim Donaghy, who admitted tobetting on games that he officiated. Lauro told The New YorkTimes in 2007 that he modeled his approach after famed lawyerClarence Darrow, known for representing unpopular clientsincluding teacher John Scopes in a famed 1920s trial over theteaching of evolution. * Todd Blanche: Blanche appeared with Trump at hisarraignment on Thursday in the 2020 election case. It’s unclearhow large of a role he will have given his work on the othercases. * Evan Corcoran: Corcoran is a former federal prosecutor inWashington, D.C. who has worked as a civil litigator andwhite-collar defense lawyer. He represented former Trump WhiteHouse adviser Steve Bannon in a contempt of Congress trial in2022. Corcoran represented Trump during the Mar-a-Lago documentsinvestigation and was compelled by a judge to testify and turnover notes about his interactions with the former president,which were later featured prominently in the indictment againstTrump. Corcoran stopped representing Trump in that probe, butcontinued to advise on the election case. He appeared atThursday’s arraignment, but did not sit at the defense tablewith the former president.
GEORGIA 2020 ELECTION CASE
Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis has investigated attempts by Trump and his allies to interfere in the state’s vote count following the 2020 election. A grand jury is expected to bring indictments in the coming days, and Trump may face charges from the probe.
* Drew Findling: Findling is a prominent Georgia-basedcriminal defense lawyer who has earned the nickname#BillionDollarLawyer for his past representation of hip hopstars including Cardi B and Gucci Mane. Findling had previouslycriticized Trump on social media, but was hired to defend theformer president in the Georgia investigation in August 2022. * Marissa Goldberg: Goldberg is a partner at Findling’s lawfirm who has worked on several legal challenges to Willis’investigation in recent months. * Jennifer Little: Little is a former county prosecutor whonow has her own Georgia-based criminal defense practice.
(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward; Editing by David Bario and Grant McCool)