Trump Needs Cleared Lawyers, Not Just Any Lawyers

WaPo has a 28-paragraph article on Trump’s scramble to find lawyers to appear at his arraignment today that doesn’t mention several things that are undoubtedly making the search harder.

First, there are all the details in the indictment that reveal how much information Trump withheld from his lawyers: not just the location of the files Evan Corcoran needed to search on June 3, 2022 (and Tim Parlatore tried to search in November and December, only to find none of the documents that remain unaccounted for), but also the sensitivity of the documents he had them claiming before Courts were merely personal records.

Several prominent Florida attorneys declined to take Trump on as a client after two of the key lawyers handling the documents matter — Jim Trusty and John Rowley — resigned last week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Trusty and Rowley’s departure was sudden and unexpected, leaving Trump jockeying to identify a lawyer ahead of his Tuesday appearance in federal court in Miami, where rules require practicing attorneys to be a member in good standing of the Florida bar or to be sponsored by one before appearing.

All three lawyers who quit — plus Lindsey Halligan, whose status remains uncertain — signed a letter to Congress claiming that the organization of the boxes returned in January 2022 merely reflect the result of haste and sloppiness by White House staff.

This organization of materials (i.e., schedule of calls for the day, insert page for briefing sheet to prepare for the call, newspapers from the same day) indicates that the White House staff simply [having] swept all documents from the President’s desk and other areas into boxes, where they have resided ever since


We have seen absolutely no indication that President Trump knowingly possessed any of the marked documents or willfully broke any laws. Rather, all indications are that the presence of marked documents at Mara-a-Largo was the result of haphazard records keeping and packing by White House staff and GSA.

The claim is wildly inconsistent with the evidence in the indictment showing how Trump carefully curated these documents over the course of months. That’s the kind of misrepresentation that carries a great deal of personal and professional risk, something that was obvious at the time.

The haste with which Trusty and Rowley abandoned ship, coming shortly after Parlatore’s loud departure, will raise real alarm bells for any attorneys considering the case.

Especially given another detail WaPo doesn’t mention: Lawyers who show up at his table today could get stuck seeing this criminal prosecution through, with far less ability to quit after Trump inevitably fails to disclose other key details in the future. Once a lawyer files a notice of appearance in a criminal case, they often can’t leave until a replacement is found. If, for example, Trump neglected to mention to incoming attorneys that in addition to hoarding documents, he also was disposing of them for personal gain, those attorneys couldn’t quit until a replacement showed up or Trump stopped paying them or Trump fired them.

Finally, there’s the other key thing that WaPo doesn’t mention: Trump needs cleared attorneys, and he should (finally) have the lawyers with Espionage Act experience that might have minimized some of the risk he currently faces.

When courts deal with classified documents like this one will, the judge does not need clearance. (This is a separation of powers issue; members of Congress similarly don’t need clearance.) But the lawyers do. At least one and preferably three of Trump’s lawyers will need to be cleared at the elevated levels the FBI Agents who did the search of Mar-a-Lago had to be read into to even conduct the search. As it was, Trusty was Trump’s only attorney with clearance, and he just split.

Not all lawyers want to go through the trouble of getting clearance. Some — possibly including Chris Kise, was a registered agent for Venezuela in recent years — may not be able to get cleared at that level.

Donald Trump’s trouble finding legal representation is no longer simply the comedy of self-destructiveness it has been for years. Starting today (or shortly thereafter), there will be new obligations and exposures for lawyers representing him.

Trump’s search for a lawyer is not just about finding people who are members of the bar in SDFL. He also needs to find lawyers who are willing to put their security clearance and their reputations at risk on a case where Trump has already been wildly misleading his attorneys.

Update: Without mentioning Kise’s potential unwillingness or inability to try to get cleared, Hugo Lowell describes that Kise will sponsor Todd Blanche and appear just for today. There’s still no hint of Lindsey Halligan’s status — she could also sponsor in Blanche.

After interviewing a slate of potential lawyers at his Trump Doral resort, the former president settled on having Kise appearing as the local counsel admitted to the southern district of Florida as a one-off, with Blanche being sponsored by him to appear pro hac vice, one of the people said.


Blanche is expected to take the lead role in the Mar-a-Lago documents case in addition to leading the team defending Trump against state charges in New York for paying hush money to an adult film star in 2016.

Though Kise is expected to appear alongside Blanche in federal district court in Miami, he has primarily handled civil litigation for Trump since he came off the documents case last October and is not expected to be on the trial team proper, a person familiar with the matter said.

Update: Kise filed what appears to be a permanent notice of appearance, with Todd Blanche filing as well.

93 replies
  1. Dunnydone says:

    What is Pro se litigant?

    Don’t laugh too hard…. You know the thought of handling this himself has certainly crossed his life addled brain…. And with no one left to explain what a terrible idea that actually is … My cousin Donny

  2. Susan D. Einbinder says:

    So how long can he drag this out by ‘trying-not-trying’ to find a lawyer? (Doesn’t Alan Dershowitz wanna do it – I ask as a joke). Can he be assigned one? What does the court do when someone cannot find a lawyer with appropriate clearances?

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “Susan Einbinder” is your second user name and not the same as “Susan D. Einbinder”; I’ve edited this comment to revert to your original username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  3. Kennygauss says:

    Wow! This has certainly become the most interesting development of late, that I,ve read! Cheers to true leading of LAW!

  4. Konny_2022 says:

    If Kise is going to sponsor Blanche only today, Blanche will need another sponsor for the case going on, because: “Attorneys admitted pro hac vice will be required to electronically file and serve all documents through their local counsel.” This sentence is emphasized in bold in a letter by Angela Noble, the court administrator and clerk, sent to i.a. Blanche on June 12 (

    Noble’s letter explicates in detail all the requirements for attorneys to appear in SDFL courts, including details about the electronic filing.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Given those rules and Kise filing a permanent appearance, is he now locked in until/unless he can find a replacement?

        Blanche is spreading himself awfully thin. What happened to Tacopina (in NY) and “Susan” the ultra-professional?

  5. Peterr says:

    One more thing to add: getting a security clearance takes time.

    Trump can’t go to a lawyer on Friday and expect them to get a security clearance by Tuesday. Just filling out the security clearance forms takes a lot of time, and then getting the FBI (and perhaps others) to run down all the details they need to run down takes a lot more time. Did you travel outside the country? Add more time to the investigation – the more you travel, the longer it takes. Do you have contacts with foreign individuals? Add more time — and the more your contacts, or the more important these folks are, the longer it takes. Are you simply old? You have to provide addresses of everywhere you’ve lived, everywhere you worked, and references for each, so the older you are, the more you’ve moved around, the more you’ve changed jobs, the longer it potentially takes.

    For all practical purposes, Trump needs a lawyer who *already* has a security clearance, and that’s a much smaller pool of candidates than he realizes.

    • joel fisher says:

      “Getting a security clearance takes time.” Sadly, whose friend is time? And can a law enforcement/judiciary establishment demand things–“Your lawyer must be cleared”–of Trump? So far the evidence is to the contrary.

    • massappeal says:

      Thanks for your comment. Adding to Joel Fisher’s point: it’s in Trump’s self-interest to delay this case (and all the other cases) as long as possible. We should expect him to do so.

      To my mind, this is part of the managing expectations/staying sane that bloggers here and elsewhere (e.g., Josh Marshall, David Roberts) have been talking about. Don’t get caught up in Trump’s drama. Keep calm and carry on. (That’s certainly what Jack Smith appears to be doing.)

      • Rugger_9 says:

        This is one area where SC Smith’s Hague background will help, since similar lowlifes also had friends in high places. Smith knows to keep it straight and stay on course, judging from the conduct of the investigation (no leaks) and the detail in the indictment.

        So Defendant-1 will need really good and cleared counsel available in SDFL. His problems are many, including a penchant for stiffing those he considers the help, his failure to STFU and his demands he’ll be making on his attorneys.

        I don’t see any attorney capable of defending against SC Smith that will tolerate what being Defendant-1’s counsel will mean, and none of the ‘true believers’ will be able to stop Smith from steamrolling to a conviction. So, if the attorney isn’t going to fix things, then Cannon might become more useful to limit the playing field. At the very least it is probable that a delay will come shortly, even if Defendant-1 represents himself because an attorney will be appointed to guide / advise on a case of this magnitude.

        I’m agreed that time is somewhat more favorable to the defense, but let’s also consider that too much delay means stuff will be dropping into the press during the campaign’s final months like the HRC emails did in 2016. We know how that turned out, and FWIW I can’t see Defendant-1 getting much of the independent vote. Ads are already running about the 2018 statements.

      • BobBobCon says:

        I keep seeing the claim that it’s in Trump’s interest to string this out interminably, but I’m far from sure. It *may* work out that way, but there are very strong reasons against it too.

        If he was a businessman facing a single tentative legal threat, I’d agree 100%. But he’s facing a lot of advanced threats and he desperately needs to win in 24 to beat them.

        He already has 35% locked up, but getting to a winning margin is not the same as appealing to the base. Stringing out cases may make things even worse for him than in 2020 when the Covid headlines muted his ability to get his attacks on Biden out. He may want to get to the appeals stage as quickly as practical to get the trial verdicts behind him and open up more time for campaigning.

        The wild card is his irrationality, of course. He may string things out against his best interests, in the same way his lawyer choices have been damaging. But that’s different from saying delay is a real friend.

        It may also be a foe, it also may be irrelevant. We don’t know.

        • e.a. foster says:

          Trump’s delaying the process may work to his advantage in that he is 76 and could die. It happens. He’s over weight, under a lot of stress, so he could die before the case is concluded. The upside of this is he won’t have to go to jail or the tjury finding him guilty. You’re going to die anyhow, so might as well do it at a time which will work for you. Of course his parents lived to be quite old, so he may just continue on his merry way to jail or where ever they have former Presidents serve their sentences.

    • bmaz says:

      “For all practical purposes, Trump needs a lawyer who *already* has a security clearance, and that’s a much smaller pool of candidates than he realizes.”

      Yes, that is right. It is kind of amazing Trump did not plan ahead because of this issue.

      • Paulka123 says:

        Well he may have been surprised by the 2 lawyers quitting and since delay helps him I would be less amazed

        • e.a. foster says:

          Trump could have thought this all would never get to this stage of things so why worry about trial lawyers with clearance.

        • Unabogie says:

          Not true! He clearly planned ahead of the 2020 election to falsely claim it was stolen. It started with the Ukraine shakedown, continued with the lies about mail-in voting, and began in earnest on election night. I think that’s an example of motivated pre-planning on his part.

      • RipNoLonger says:

        This sounds silly, but Trump also doesn’t have a security clearance. He had access to the top levels of classified material while he was POTUS but I thought that access dropped off immediately upon leaving office.

        I know that, in the past, prior POTUSes (POTII) were given access to material by the sitting POTUS. Trump was, naturally, not offered that access.

      • ItTollsForYou says:

        Perhaps he felt that would be tantamount to admitting wrongdoing? Or, at least, admitting that this wasn’t “declassified” information

  6. joel fisher says:

    Security is a problem that could take a while to figure out: what if Trump says, “This is the lawyer I want and has no clearance”? Is there support for the proposition that the government has a sayso in a defendant’s lawyer other than having a license. I’m sure there is, but does anyone think Trump cares? Start the clearance process now? Good idea; that’ll take a while. People should understand: this case is about the Trump brand. Guilt or–ha ha–innocence has nothing to do with it. Boris Epshteyn seems to get this. With Smith handing victory to Trump from the getgo by bringing charges in the SDFL where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a MAGA moron, he just needs someone who can read and write, lie off the record to an obliging press, and rub the orange ego. If Cannon or someone else says, “Hey you need a security clearance”; well that’s something for the appellate courts to decide after a few months. Attractive women encouraged to apply. Not you, Judge, you’re already on the team. Great work, Jack.

    • Taxesmycredulity says:

      “With Smith handing victory to Trump from the getgo by bringing charges in the SDFL…”

      If you read Marcy’s “Tactical Nuke” post of 6/10/23, you’d know that Smith’s indictment in SDFL is tactical and is in no way Smith handing victory to trump: See also Marcy’s post from earlier today in which she states, “Partly, I think it is designed to give Walt Nauta very good reason to plead and cooperate,” and, later, “Smith needed his indictment to go back to a grand jury still working in DC.”

      As I understand it, Nauta could only be charged in SDFL, and this indictment is the vehicle for getting this info to DC.

      • Stephen Calhoun says:

        Is it likely that Smith and his team today also have a rough idea of when they might drop the other foot of 1/6 indictments?

        In any case, this is a long game by definition. imo

  7. Ichibod Crane says:

    This may be a way for Trump to delay the proceedings past today’s arraignment. Is there any history of a court appointed lawyer with the needed level of security clearances?

      • boatgeek says:

        A few questions for the lawyers about the court-appointed lawyer scenario:

        Do lawyers have the ability to refuse an appointment? I could see both sides here–that nobody wants to touch this with a 10-foot pole and that lawyers might not want to poke a judge in the eye. I don’t know if turning down an appointment like this would be seen negatively by a judge.

        Can the courts force a defendant to pay a court-appointed lawyer? It would really suck to be forced into representing a client and then get stiffed by said client.

        If the court appointment process leads to a relatively young lawyer getting appointed (per Peterr’s comments above about it taking longer to get clearance if you’re older/have done more stuff), can an appellate court throw out the case due to ineffective counsel?

        [edit] Looks like the Earl has answered some of these questions below.

        • bmaz says:

          1) Yes, but the appointing court might not be thrilled.

          2) Yes. The court can order co-payment by a defendant, though the primary payer is the government.

          3) No. Young does not equal incompetence, and never has (especially in Texas state courts I might add).

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Per my above comment, a court-appointed lawyer is not the same as a public defender, few of whom are likely to have a clearance (outside, perhaps, DC and Northern Va.).

      A court-appointed lawyer is normally someone in private practice, whom the presiding judge designates. It’s not always a willing arrangement, but one accepted under sufferance. In a case like this, I assume the court would mandate the payment of fees, etc. But there’s still the question of sufficient clearance.

      • theartistvvv says:

        I actually seem to recall that was a subplot in one of Michael Connelly’s *The Lincoln Lawyer* books, and the streaming series …

  8. vigetnovus says:

    Yet another reason why Dr. Wheeler’s comment about tactical nuke makes sense. Nauta (I think?) will have the same issue, unless he’s already started plea negotiations. I’m guessing we won’t see a trial here….

    The other possibility is that if these documents haven’t already been declassified, Smith can also drop some of the espionage counts to only introduce those documents he can get declassified quickly for trial purposes, or just use the documents with less sensitive information that a lawyer would be able to be read into on an expedited basis. It really doesn’t matter how many of the espionage counts he’s convicted on for sentencing purposes; all counts would run concurrent sentences anyway. All that matters is secret vs. top secret.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      As for classification, the PRA doesn’t care. It’s only going to come into play at sentencing IMHO when the severity of the damage is considered. The fact Defendant-1 had them at all in M-a-L and wouldn’t return them is the fundamental crime, not the level of classification.

      I see that Byron Donalds (R-FL) trotted out a new defense of 30+ bathrooms at M-a-L, which is pretty ridiculous at all levels but apparently that’s the best argument the GOP has. Keep in mind this was a guy that wanted to be Speaker and had flirted with a run for President. As Bugs would say: ‘what a maroon’.

      • vigetnovus says:

        For espionage sentencing, the classification level does matter. USSG state the base level is 30 if the document is secret, it’s 35 for top secret. For someone with no prior criminal history, that’s the difference between 8 years and 10 years minimum sentence.

        And people are forgetting that if Trump is convicted under both espionage and obstruction, the cross reference guidelines come into play, where the base level of the obstruction sentence is the underlying crime-6 levels.

        That puts it at 29 for obstruction of the investigation into top secret documents. With other enhancements for the severity of the crime and ringleader status, it could easily get to 33, which is a little more than 11 years. That’s effectively a life sentence for Donald.

    • loveyourstuff says:

      “[A]ll counts would run concurrent sentences anyway”: Marcy’s already argued that these won’t run concurrently; I remember she mentioned the number 330 years for Trump.

      • bmaz says:

        Marcy has asserted, correctly, that they do not “have to” run concurrently as opposed to consecutively. But there is little to no chance sentences would be imposed consecutively.

        • boatgeek says:

          Assuming that Trump is convicted on all counts*, do you have a sense of what sentencing might be? It seems like 3-5 years would be in keeping with the other Espionage Act cases that Marcy cited, but I don’t know how the obstruction and other charges would play in. I’m trying to square the circle between the various commentators saying that he’ll be put away for eleventy million years and the likelihood that sentences will be concurrent.

          * Recognizing that Trump is innocent until proven guilty, there are many issues still to be litigated, we don’t know what the impact statements will be, appeals will be lodged, etc.

          • bmaz says:

            No, I do not. I cannot imagine it would be more than ten, but I have no idea. And it really depends on what convictions there are and how “related conduct” becomes involved. Nobody knows that answer at this early point.

            • boatgeek says:

              Thanks, that’s very helpful. It’s kinda moot anyway since 5-10 years could very well be a life sentence, assuming that 75 years of lousy health habits don’t catch up with him before sentencing.

  9. Bay State Librul says:

    Need a Miami based lawyer?
    Jack Lassiter could be your guy.
    He is a “Night school lawyer without an Ivy League pedigree… a formidable presence in the courtroom.”
    He played football, weighs about 230 pounds and according to writer Paul Levine is an “ex-public defender, ex-a-lot-of things, who leans against the rail of a witness stand speaking to a million sweaty palms.”
    Source: Legal thriller Bum Rap by Paul Levine, a second-place winner to Carl Hiaasen, as one funny bastard.
    Disclaimer: Jack only takes jailbird cases with a hefty advance.

  10. waban1966 says:

    This problem raises a bunch of questions for me. I had a similar case once with unqualified counsel stepping in when a small qualified bar would no longer represent someone. A civil case, and withdrawals by all the qualified counsel were allowed for nonpayment. But it had the same dynamic with an obstreperous client that no one would represent. Indeed someone did step in for a single hearing and then realized they wanted out too. It ended up with proposed unqualified counsel, and we objected so that there could be no claim later to stop the proceedings for another change. The judge made a bunch of inquiries of unqualified counsel and the client, to prevent that.

    First, as noted by others above, what about Nauta? How could two sets of lawyers be found? Nauta lied just as much to Corcoran about impeding the search; why would a lawyer take the lower-profile role? And no way a court would allow joint representation under Rule 44, I suspect. and what would the answer be about who is paying for Nauta’s lawyer? But maybe Nauta could somehow qualify for a federal public defender, after an inquiry showed that otherwise the Trump PAC is paying legal fees.

    Interestingly, since the whole strategy is (i) delay until a Republican appointed AG drops the case (or even the appeal), or (ii) getting a hung jury, in a joint case, unqualified Trump counsel could actually just tag along as Nauta’s appointed and qualified counsel does everything they can to slow things down. That said, having charged only Trump as to the documents themselves, maybe Smith can avoid this by severing Nauta after the counsel kerfuffle, since Nauta can’t assert CIPA-based objections. Indeed, a Nauta-only case might separately go forward very fast. Understandably they were initially charged together, but this could provide grounds for severance and putting even more pressure on Nauta.

    Second, if the court allows the case to proceed without experienced counsel (national or local), is the court worried about a later ineffective assistance claim? The same issue as with qualified lawyers doing joint defense. In those cases (has happened a lot in the J6 prosecutions), the court appoints a separate lawyer to advise the client. I wonder if the judge would think that for this limited issue they could appoint someone like a federal public defender or a private attorney, just to advise Trump on the counsel issue. Not on the substance of the case, and not needing to see the documents.

    In the J6 cases the government itself has been raising the issue (sort of like objecting), and courts have been bringing in special counsel to report to the court about conflicts.

    Third, there was a report that a magistrate judge would preside at the arraignment today. If so, does the magistrate want to decide the very weighty issue of who will represent Trump/Nauta going forward? It will be Judge Cannon’s problem when the big issues are on the line. This issue is sensitive and important enough that if I am the magistrate I might not formally decide and instead issue a “factual findings and recommendations” under 28 USC 636. Maybe that’s not technically right — perhaps the magistrate has authority to deal with the counsel issue. But regardless, I would let Judge Cannon decide whether I can even decide. And whether there should be a waiver of the local rule requiring SD Fla counsel to be in every case.

    In summary, is it possible that the hearing today stops even if Kise or Halligan say they have Trump’s consent to be “lawyer for the day,” and would leave the case with only out of state counsel? And the government objects or calls that into question. Or the magistrate does it themselves? Will the magistrate inquire of Trump whether he has knowingly waived having qualified in state counsel? And who advised him on that question?

    [FYI – this comment replaces an earlier version. /~Rayne]

  11. harpie says:

    […] those attorneys couldn’t quit until a replacement showed up or Trump stopped paying them or Trump fired them.

    Finally, something that might make Trump actually pay his bills.

    • Konny_2022 says:

      That brings me back to a question asked in a different thread and elsewhere: Is it possible that Trump gets a public defender if he otherwise would be without representation?

      It sounds comical, and usually I don’t like to speculate. But the perspective of achieving delay through firing attorneys doesn’t sound right either.

  12. Georgia Girl says:

    Is the following observation correct?

    Mick 2001 commented in the Washington Post that Trump’s legal team would be hampered by the following: “that pesky rule of legal jurisprudence called the ‘law of the case,’ which should mean that this [SDFL] court is precluded from revisiting Judge Howell’s ruling, especially because it was affirmed on appeal,…”

    • Waban1966 says:

      I think the answer depends on timing, since it’s not technically the same case. Judge Howell made a definitive ruling, and in federal court that has preclusive effect right away even if on appeal. But I think the DC Circuit ruling is only on a motion to stay pending appeal. It can be decided the other way later. If the merits appeal (which I think has been argued but not decided) reverses Judge Howell, then Judge Cannon could decide (DC Circuit could send it back for more findings, leaving Judge Cannon a window to be “first”). The DC Circuit did order Corcoran to testify immediately after denying the stay, so hopefully the merits would come out the same way. And SCOTUS can revisit the whole thing after conviction (if that happens).

      • bmaz says:

        Merits appeal? Of Beryl Howell? In DC? It is moot, Corcoran already testified and turned over his notes. Exactly what appeal do you think he is going to take “on the merits”? The appeal was by Trump, but that appellate window is closing as to SCOTUS. And, again, it is moot. There is a Twitter site called “Bad Legal Takes”, maybe you would do better there. In the meantime, please don’t make readers here dumber.

        • waban1966 says:

          I don’t see the mootness. Yes, Smith has the documents. There is still available relief by excluding from a trial.

          Anyway, no need for you to respond. I’ve gotten just your invective regarding my posts over the past week or so. Many (although not all) have raised issues since taken up by MTW, Lawfare, etc.

          I have followed this site since the Libby trial. Recently decided to engage here. No need for me to participate here if you, one of the regulars, thinks I have nothing to offer. Since everyone else will likely just take your word for it.

          Sorry to go. You can have Rayne deactivate my account.

          • bmaz says:

            I really don’t care what you “see”. You have become an overnight sensation as a pain in the ass on this blog, and very often making bad legal takes. The very definition of “moot” is no longer practically relevant.

            When Corcoran has already testified, and turned over his voluminous notes, the gig is up. How is your precious “appeal” going to undo that? How is Cannon going to magically make that go away? Quit making people here stupid with your relentless comments. If you are so impressed with Lawfare, go bother them and quit spewing bullshit here. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

  13. Waban1966 says:

    Second one is fine. I thought I had deleted the first accidentally. Thanks.

    I will keep it shorter, agree long ones are hard to read. Is it ok to thread them if I have several thoughts?

    • Rayne says:

      Threading’s fine but keep in mind the longer the thread, the wider the ziggurat and even more difficulty reading on desktop as well as mobiles.

      I will delete this thread and publish your second comment in just a moment.

  14. oldtulsadude says:

    If Trump cannot find a qualified lawyer in Florida would that be justification for a change of venue “in fairness to the defendant”?

  15. bmaz says:

    In addition to what Rayne said, which is absolutely good advice, if Nauta does not have his own counsel independent from Trump, he is a fool. If he cannot afford one independent of Trump, he should request a FPD or panel atty be appointed immediately.

  16. trnc2023 says:

    Weird how the Jesse Pinkman style “Yo, you need a *criminal* lawyer!” hasn’t been working out for DT.

  17. waban1966 says:

    Just saw MTW’s post noting that Kise has entered an appearance with waiver of right to withdraw due to fees. I would love to know what the fixed advance fee is, given that Kise asked for a $3 million retainer (or fixed fee) last time. Has to be massive.

    Also Kise has reserved the right to withdraw for other reasons (client lies to lawyer, irreconcilable differences), although much harder to do that.

    • waban1966 says:

      Kise was on the special master papers. No lawyer was willing to really step up and assert that Trump had declassified the documents, IIRC. Kise would have to resolve this between him and Trump before taking the case, no? With an (unfiled) affidavit/representation from Trump now if Kise is going to formally and affirmatively talk about declassification, setting aside its technical irrelevance. At least an agreement that unless he gets an affidavit he doesn’t have to say anything about it. Now that it’s a criminal, not civil, proceeding, this suggests that they will just put the government to its proof on the NDI issue. And the attendant CIPA problems/appeals. And if so the graymail has begun.

      • bmaz says:

        No, that is almost total bullshit. PLEASE stop relentlessly making readers here dumber with your comments.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        LOL. Kise knows better than most why he would not want to work for Trump. He’s the world’s shittiest client, who hides essential information from his lawyers never shuts up, follows advice, or pays his bills, and he will throw anyone under the bus. (Kise, at least, got a lump sum in advance.)

        As Marcy pointed out, he would have a problem getting adequate clearance, with his [past?] representation of foreign clients.

  18. Badger Robert says:

    If an attorney represents Trump, will they end up with:
    1. An unpaid bill,
    2. A black mark for repeating his misinformation in court and to the media,
    3. Being included in a list of attorneys that Trump will blame for what the attorneys perceive as the likely negative result for the defendant?

  19. Badger Robert says:

    “Its all going to come out.” It was just a line in the movie about Weinstein, She Said. But it may be true about Trump, as it was true about convict Weinstein.

  20. dp_10MAY2022_2136h says:

    As a lawyer, I can’t imagine anyone having observed what’s gone on in this case and willingly getting involved with representing him.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. SECOND REQUEST: Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next. We are migrating to a new standard requiring unique usernames of a minimum 8 letters. Your most recent comment was published as “Donald W Price.” Until you choose a permanent one, your username will be changed to reflect the date/time of your first known comment. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  21. retired railroad switchperson says:

    Chris Kise’s “Notice of Permanent Appearance” contains the all-caps sentence: “FEE DISPUTES BETWEEN COUNSEL AND CLIENT SHALL NOT BE A BASIS FOR WITHDRAWAL FROM THIS REPRESENTATION.” Is this boilerplate? If not boilerplate, is it unusual?

    • bloopie2 says:

      The Kice notice appears to follow the sample form provided by the Southern District of Florida (available online). That form says that it follows Local Rule 88.7. That rule reads:

      (a) Retained criminal defense attorneys are expected to make financial arrangements satisfactory to themselves and sufficient to provide for representation of each defendant until the conclusion of the defendant’s case at the trial level. Failure of a defendant to pay sums owed for attorney’s fees, or failure of counsel to collect a sum sufficient to compensate him for all the services usually required of defense counsel, will not constitute good cause for withdrawal after arraignment. Every defendant, of course, has a right to appeal from any conviction.

      So, the statement about fee disputes seems to be of the type required. In for a penny, in for a pound.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Given Trump’s more than half century of conning every creditor he’s ever used, no sane lawyer would work for him without a large upfront retainer – or have guarantees from others with the resources and contractual commitment to pay up. In a case that could easily involve millions in legal fees, there’s no substitute for cash on the barrel head.

  22. Alexei Schacht says:

    I am a criminal defense lawyer who received FBI security clearance in a case where my client was charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization (Hezbollah) and it was very time-consuming to get cleared – but clearance is in general not hard to get. The judicial system is loath to deny a criminal defendant her Sixth Amendment right to choice of counsel. I also have clients in Venezuela and have traveled there and that did not stop my clearance.

    Also I imagine that here the FBI would expedite the clearance at the request of the Special Counsel. The real delay in the case will be the CIPA litigation.

    • bmaz says:

      So, what, 60-90 days? That is what I am familiar with, even on extremely accelerated bases. How quickly do you think they get field people out for various background checks and subsequent reports?

      • Alexei Schacht says:

        Yes it can’t be less than 60-90 days I think.

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “AL” is your second user name; I have edited to “Alexei Schacht” this once as you have used that on all your previous comments. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • bmaz says:

          Welp, I have never seen that. Even with friends on the lightning track. 60 at minimum. I was interviewed for some of them.

    • Scott_in_MI says:

      Kise was apparently a registered agent of the Venezuelan government under FARA. That’s a little different from having had private Venezuelan clients.

  23. harpie says:

    According to Maggie Haberman,
    NAUTA accompanied TRUMP in the motorcade authoritarian spectacle.
    1:46 PM · Jun 13, 2023

    re: “authoritarian spectacle”:
    2:50 PM · Jun 13, 2023

    If you study authoritarian spectacle, you know that the purpose of the motorcade is to continue to hold up the fiction for the most deluded that he is still their leader. Trump of all people knows how important appearances are.

  24. Time Enough says:

    If Prez. Trump already declassified all of this, why does he need an attorney with clearance?

    /Signed confused citizen

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Golly, might it be because Trump made that shit up and did not and could not insta-declassify all these documents? He’s admitted that he did not declassify key docs, and didn’t finish the process to declassify others. There are others he hadn’t the power to unilaterally declassify.

      You’ll need to do more homework to enjoy commenting here.

  25. Badger Robert says:

    Its a story worth tracking. Will the experience level of the attorneys willing to take on the client begin to decline? And will the attorneys that accept representing Trump operate in a self protective mode which will eventually cause conflict with the defendant?

Comments are closed.