April 21, 2024

NYTimes: Two of Trump’s Lawyers Leave His Legal Team a Day After His Indictment

Two of former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers who had been engaging directly with the Justice Department have left his team, according to a social media post by Mr. Trump and a statement from the lawyers.

The lawyers, James Trusty and John Rowley, left Mr. Trump’s legal team a day after he was indicted on seven federal counts related to his handling of government documents at his Florida home and resort, Mar-a-Lago.

“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 in the post. “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.”

In a joint statement put out shortly after Mr. Trump’s announcement, the two lawyers wrote that they had tendered their resignations. “It has been an honor to have spent the last year defending him, and we know he will be vindicated,” they wrote.

The departures of Mr. Trusty and Mr. Rowley came a month after the resignation of a third lawyer on Mr. Trump’s team, Timothy Parlatore. Days after Mr. Parlatore stepped back from representing Mr. Trump, he went on CNN to complain about how another lawyer close to Mr. Trump, Boris Epshteyn, had created conflict inside the legal team.

On Thursday night, within two hours of the legal team being briefed on the indictment, Mr. Trusty was one of the faces on cable news defending Mr. Trump, appearing on CNN to denounce the case against him.

Mr. Trusty and Mr. Rowley were two of the three lawyers who attended a meeting with Justice Department officials, including the special counsel Jack Smith, three days before the indictment.

Two people familiar with the matter said that Mr. Trusty and Mr. Rowley had repeatedly complained about working with Mr. Epshteyn. One of these people, with direct knowledge of events, said that was part of the reason for the departures. That person said Mr. Trusty and Mr. Rowley are still on good terms with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Blanche, who is already representing Mr. Trump in the case against him in a Manhattan state court, represents both Mr. Trump and Mr. Epshteyn.

In their statement, Mr. Trusty and Mr. Rowley said the case’s shift to Florida made it “a logical moment for us to step aside and let others carry the cases through to completion.”

They added, “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. Parlatore, by contrast, went on CNN and directly blamed Mr. Epshteyn when he departed the team.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment about those tensions.

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