Trump’s Defense Team Adds a New Member for the Latest Case
When former President Donald J. Trump arrives for his arraignment Thursday in a federal courthouse in Washington, he will be joined by a new lawyer, John F. Lauro.
Mr. Lauro, who has not represented Mr. Trump in his previous two indictments, and Todd Blanche, who has, will be at the defense table in the courtroom, aides to Mr. Trump said. Earlier in the day, Mr. Lauro filed a notice of appearance in the case.
He is joining Mr. Trump’s defense team strictly to focus on the indictment stemming from Mr. Trump’s efforts to remain in office after the 2020 election, aides said. But he brings deep experience with white-collar criminal cases and a measured and unflappable nature, according to people who have worked with him.
Christopher M. Kise — a member of the Trump legal team who has worked with Mr. Lauro before — described him as a “tenacious lawyer with an eye for critical details and masterful at cross-examination.” Mr. Kise, who is working on other cases, said the Trump team was “privileged to have him.”
Among Mr. Lauro’s highest-profile cases was a 2007 defense of Tim Donaghy, a former N.B.A. referee who pleaded guilty to betting on games and taking payoffs from gamblers.
Mr. Blanche is representing Mr. Trump in the two other cases in which he has been indicted: the state case in Manhattan related to hush money payments to a porn star during the 2016 race, and the federal indictment in Miami accusing Mr. Trump of retaining reams of national defense information after his presidency and obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve the material.
Mr. Blanche, who went to law school while working as a paralegal in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and then served as a prosecutor there for nine years, has also represented other high-profile clients. They include Igor Fruman, a former associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani, who worked for Mr. Trump during the 2020 election. Mr. Fruman pleaded guilty in a campaign finance case and was connected to Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to find “dirt” against President Biden and his son Hunter.
Mr. Blanche also represented Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman in 2016, in a successful fight to get a New York case against him dismissed. Mr. Manafort had also been charged federally, and his lawyers argued that it was essentially double jeopardy to charge him at the state level, too. Mr. Manafort is among those who recommended Mr. Blanche to Mr. Trump, a person close to the former president said.
Mr. Kise, who is working with Mr. Blanche on the federal documents case, said he has been “honored” to work with him and that he has “an exceptional legal mind and a compelling courtroom presence.”
Maggie Haberman is a senior political correspondent and the author of “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.” She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on President Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. More about Maggie Haberman
William K. Rashbaum is a senior writer on the Metro desk, where he covers political and municipal corruption, courts, terrorism and law enforcement. He was a part of the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. More about William K. Rashbaum
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