Donald Trump’s legal team may not even constitute a real “team” and may be hurting as much as helping him.
A criminal defense, whether large or small, cannot succeed without organization and cohesion, and yet Trump’s locker of lawyers lacks the most necessary element — “trust.”
Astonishingly, the crew is even worried that some are “snitching” to the media, or, worse — to prosecutors.
It is a strange and complex dynamic.
Jack Smith’s prosecutors obtained one attorney’s legal notes, and another attorney may be a potential witness.
The combination has the others spooked, according to a new Daily Beast report:
“Part of the concern over lawyers turning on each other is due to the fact that the Department of Justice already has one Trump attorney’s professional notes, which could position him as a future witness against his own client, and the DOJ has another lawyer who said too much in an unrelated case and has positioned herself as yet another potential witness against her client.”
If only that were Trump’s lone problem.
Long-time Trump “lawyer” and “right-hand man,” Boris Epshteyn, is both the closest of his legal team to Trump and is running interference against the true, experienced, and competent courtroom warriors.
Epshteyn is especially hated by the most important team, the lawyers handling the Mar-a-Lago files, the case rumored to be closest to an indictment.
Attorneys defending Trump in Florida describe Epshteyn as “a toxic loser,” a “psycho,” and say that he has “daddy issues” and that “Trump’s his daddy.”
A quote about “daddy issues” coming out on a large platform like The Daily Beast obviously indicates that the hatred must be running like lava.
The infighting came to a head last month in an “Either he goes or we go” meeting.
Ultimately, Tim Palatore ended his representation of trump. Epshteyn is still there.
Epshteyn sees himself as a chief of staff and will “guard” Trump, forcing other lawyers to go through him.
Lawyers are used to reporting to the client directly, and the dynamic has been ruinous.
The very existence of all the quotes and evidence of infighting makes it self-evident that the legal team is leaking like a fishnet to the media.
But a larger concern looms.
Is anyone leaking to the prosecutors in an attempt to protect themselves from criminal liability?
No one is certain except the prosecutors, and they’re not talking.
But Smith’s team is, without question, taking advantage of the factions and is intentionally driving white hot wedges between them.
Prosecutors have invaluable information from inside the defense team.
A judge forced Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to hand over his notes and communications to prosecutors, making Corcoran a possible co-conspirator and someone who may want to make a deal to protect himself.
Similarly, Alina Habba put herself in an impossible situation when she signed off on an affidavit stating that Trump had handed over all documents responsive to a subpoena, only to be proven wrong during the August search.
Habba either committed perjury or reckless incompetence, either of which could put her in legal peril and also, perhaps, lead her to seek a deal.
The above terrifies the remaining lawyers because they face becoming witnesses against each other and possibly the client.
The situation with the Mar-a-Lago files is described to be so “hot” that one attorney said, “I have nothing to do with that. I have a law license to protect.”
Another attorney involved in the case is apparently ready to dive, “It’s crazy in there. It really is. I’ve heard there’s a mess coming,”
A mess coming?
A federal indictment involving top-secret files would be quite a mess, given there is almost no defense.
The only thing worse than conducting a defense train powering toward a giant “mess” is if the train is already a rolling mess with faulty equipment, setting off sparks landing in news stories.
But is anyone surprised?
With so many lawyers involved and all of them representing the man who is notoriously the worst “client” in history, none of this can be considered “shocking.”
The only shock is that they are all getting paid on time.
We know they’re getting paid because no one would throw themselves into this rat’s nest for free.
Breaking News About Donald Trump Legal Team has a Snitch Trump Donor News pic.twitter.com/Xo6CwSUq2D
— Missouri Vote (@tmsnbb) May 30, 2023
“It’s crazy in there”: Knives out on Trump’s legal team over worries one of them could be a “snitch”
— Dennis Koch (@DennisKoch10) May 30, 2023
Original reporting by Jose Pagliery at The Daily Beast.
I can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @JasonMiciak.
Editor’s note: This is an opinion column that solely reflects the opinions of the author.