Chris Kise, Florida’s former solicitor general who served on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ transition team, inked a contract to represent Donald Trump in the criminal case that resulted in the FBI search of the former president’s home in Mar-a-Lago, according to two sources with knowledge of the discussions.
Kise, who declined to comment, began negotiations with Trump shortly after the FBI’s search of his Palm Beach estate Aug. 8. Numerous other criminal defense attorneys have said they couldn’t represent the former president in the Southern District of Florida, citing the all-consuming job of representing Trump or his reputation as a penny-pinching problematic client with a history of having rival advisers who backstab one another, according to five people with knowledge of the legal effort.
Other attorneys declined because their firms wanted to avoid the political blowback of representing such a divisive figure, according to those in Trump’s orbit who say that Kise is leaving the firm of Foley & Lardner — where he had briefly represented Venezuela’s government two years ago when hostilities with the United States ran high — to take the job. After this story published, the firm removed Kise from its webpage listing its lawyers. Kise now lists his bio on his own website. [Continue reading…]
For Kise’s services, Trump will have to pay on his own. A person familiar with the matter confirmed that the Republican National Committee is not paying for Trump’s legal fees related to the FBI’s investigation and retrieval of documents at Mar-a-Lago. That’s a departure of sorts from the past. The RNC has, for example, paid for Trump’s legal bills involving New York Attorney General Tish James’ investigation into the former president’s private businesses. The committee would stop paying Trump’s legal fees should he formally declare his candidacy for president in the 2024 election — a step he has hinted at but has yet to take. [Continue reading…]