Legal team representing Trump in documents probe hires new lawyer
Former President Donald Trump added a new lawyer to the group of attorneys representing him as he faces scrutiny over classified documents retrieved by the FBI from his Florida residence Mar-A-Lago.
Former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise recently joined Trump's legal team. He filed a notice to the court that he has signed on as co-counsel in Trump's case requesting a special master to review the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. That case is being heard by federal Judge Aileen Cannon.
The FBI's search warrant, unsealed in August, revealed that Trump is under investigation for potential violation of three criminal statutes: removing or destroying records, obstruction of an investigation and a provision of the Espionage Act related to gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.
Until Monday, Kise was a partner at Foley & Lardner.
"Foley & Lardner LLP can confirm that Christopher M. Kise, formerly a partner in our Tallahassee office, has withdrawn from the firm," a spokesperson from Foley & Lardner said in a statement sent to CBS News. Kise's name has been removed from the firm's site.
NBC News was the first to report Kise was joining Trump's team. The former president has so far recruited five attorneys who can make appearances in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida starting Thursday, when there was a hearing in West Palm Beach focusing on Trump's request for a special master.
The other members of his legal team are Christina Bobb, Lindsey Halligan, Jim Trusty and Evan Corcoran. Bobb is a former One America News Network host, and was also executive secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), managing written communications for and by the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. Prior to DHS, she spent several years as a civil litigation attorney and was also a judge advocate for the U.S. Marine Corps, according to a bio on the DHS website. Bobb is the only one on his legal team who is not currently representing him in court.
Halligan is a Florida-based attorney who, according to a Florida database of lawyers, litigates insurance claims on residential and commercial properties.
Both Bobb and Halligan arrived at the scene the morning of Aug. 8 when the FBI searched Mar-A-Lago, according to Halligan.
Trusty was a federal prosecutor for nearly 30 years and served as chief of the Organized Crime Section at the Department of Justice for seven years, according to the Ifrah Law firm where he is now a lawyer whose practice area is white collar litigation.
Corcoran was a federal prosecutor and is now a criminal defense attorney. He most recently defended Trump aide Steve Bannon on criminal contempt charges that stemmed from Bannon's refusal to comply with a subpoena by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. A jury convicted Bannon on both criminal contempt charges in July.
Trump has hired a number of lawyers over the past six years to represent him in several different cases. Attorneys who have worked with Trump include Rudy Giuliani, Jay Sekulow, Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and former independent counsel Ken Starr.
There have been perceived legal risks associated with being the former president's lawyer, notes New York University law professor Ryan Goodman.
"Some of the lawyers might very well want to stay away from Trump because they have seen in the past how his attorneys can get implicated directly in the criminal investigation," Goodman said.
According to the Justice Department's response in the special master case, a "custodian of records" for Trump's post-presidential office, whom CBS News has reported is a Trump lawyer, provided federal law enforcement with a signed certification letter on June 3 that stated a "diligent search" was conducted of boxes brought from the White House to Mar-a-Lago and that "any and all" documents responsive to the grand jury subpoena were turned over.
Two months later, on Aug. 8, the FBI seized 11 sets of classified material, including some marked "top secret." The Justice Department's most recent filing in the special master case included a photo showing a number of cover sheets for classified documents recovered from a container in Trump's office during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago.
About three weeks ago, Dershowitz told Newsmax host Sean Spicer some lawyers had reached out to him saying they wouldn't represent Trump amid the fear of getting "canceled."
Guiliani is currently a target of a criminal investigation into Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Scott MacFarlane contributed to this report.
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