Donald Trump’s political operation has helped pay the legal expenses of more than a dozen people contacted by prosecutors investigating the former president, tying up millions of dollars that otherwise could be used for his 2024 White House bid.
Reuters has identified 13 potential witnesses or co-defendants who were represented by law firms that received payments from a political group run by Trump, based on interviews and a review of court records and campaign finance disclosures. The payments were disclosed in campaign finance reports as general payments to law firms rather than specific payments to individuals.
Those law firms, which include Brand Woodward, Dhillon Law Group and Greenberg Traurig, received more than $2.1 million in the first six months of this year from Save America, a Trump group that is separate from his campaign but played a major role raising money to support him as the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination.
The funds represent a significant chunk of the more than $21 million that Save America’s disclosures to the Federal Election Commission show it spent on legal expenses during that period, a sum that could grow substantially if the group keeps paying legal expenses that are expected to balloon in the coming year.
Some legal experts say campaign finance rules appear to allow Save America’s spending on legal bills involving Trump because the group is registered as a “leadership committee,” which faces few restrictions on spending. Others say, however, that prosecutors may scrutinize the payments for signs of any effort to influence witness testimony.
Four lawyers and legal experts consulted by Reuters said Trump’s defense in four criminal prosecutions could cost over $50 million, more than all the money raised in the first half of this year by Trump’s campaign and its top allied super PAC, Make America Great Again Inc, known as MAGA Inc. [Continue reading…]