Former Trump attorney says he left legal team because of infighting
Timothy Parlatore, an attorney who recently left former President Donald Trump's legal team, said Saturday that he departed because of infighting, highlighting disputes with one Trump adviser.
"The real reason is because there are certain individuals that made defending the president much harder than it needed to be," he said to CNN's Paula Reid on Saturday. "There is one individual who works for him, Boris Epshteyn, who had really done everything he could to try to block us, to prevent us from doing what we could to defend the president."
Parlatore said that Epshteyn "served as a kind of a filter" when it came to passing along information to the former president and also "attempted to interfere with" the team's effort to search some of Trump's properties for classified documents.
"In my opinion, he was not very honest with us or the client on certain things," Parlatore said of Epshteyn.
Trump's campaign disputed his former lawyer's assertions. “Mr. Parlatore is no longer a member of the legal team. His statements regarding current members of the legal team are unfounded and categorically false,” a spokesperson said.
Parlatore's departure was first announced Wednesday by CNN. "It's personal, and it's got nothing to do with my belief in the strength of the case,” he told POLITICO later that morning.
The withdrawal of the former Naval officer with a reputation for defending high-profile clients comes as special counsel Jack Smith appears to be in the final stretch of investigations into the possible mishandling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by Trump.
In August 2022, the FBI searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for classified documents, retrieving boxes of material, some of which included documents labeled as classified. The search followed efforts by the National Archives and Records Administration to retrieve material Trump took with him when he left office in January 2021.
That search has led not only to issues involving document retention by other political leaders, including President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, but also sparked questions as to what, if anything, a former president can lawfully do in terms of retaining classified material.
“When we left Washington, we had the boxes lined up on the sidewalk outside for everybody,” Trump said in a New Hampshire town hall earlier this month. “People are taking pictures of them. Everybody knew we were taking those boxes."
The former president also told moderator Kaitlan Collins: "By the way, they become automatically declassified when I took them," a point over which there is considerable dispute.
Epshteyn, a former political commentator for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, has worked for Trump in various capacities over the years, including as an adviser on Trump's 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, as well as serving on the Presidential Inaugural Committee for the 2017 inauguration.