The facts just change on a whim, he says.
Donald Trump’s political career has showcased his nebulous relationship with truth and reality, and now the same issue is plaguing his lawyers. Working for him can have serious consequences, as his former attorneys can attest, ranging from unpaid bills and reputational damage, all the way to criminal charges and prison time.
It’s not a job to take lightly, and those who have worked with him have shared a bit about the struggles. Now one individual who has formerly worked on Trump’s legal matters says that part of the difficulty is Trump’s creation of alternate realities.
We’ve already seen this with Trump’s employees in other capacities, such as when Kellyanne Conway was serving as his spokesperson and argued to news media that the disparity between the actual attendance at Trump’s inauguration and the numbers he claimed could be chalked up to “alternative facts.” His attorneys can empathize. The Washington Post reported:
“He has his own set of facts,” said a person who has worked for Trump in the past on legal matters, and like the others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. “That’s the biggest issue of representing him. It’s impossible to get him to agree to a unified set of facts. As soon as there is an issue with one of the facts, the facts just change retroactively.”
The leakage from Trump’s team also reflects his reputation for not paying his legal team. Christopher Kise, who has been representing Trump in his financial fraud trial, apparently only joined the team after Trump agreed to pay a $3 million retainer upfront.
Trump reportedly complains about the cost of lawyers, and limits them to a $750 an-hour maximum billing, but also tries to put his own hands in the legal work. He’s described by the inner circle as going over legal filings and insisting his attorneys shoehorn in additional rhetoric that he believes will score points with voters — another sign that he and his legal team don’t share the same priorities.
Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara suggests that a big factor in Trump’s potential courtroom successes (aside from the wild card possibility that he becomes president again and shuts it all down) is how well his attorneys can control him. He said, according to Bloomberg:
“[P]art of the problem is he doesn’t serve his lawyers well. It is very difficult, as I understand it, to represent Donald Trump. If your advice is not listened to and you’re being asked to take outrageous and radical positions as they sometimes are…Some of his lawyers are effective and good and have some ability to control him and others are hopelessly in over their heads.”
Many of those more effective lawyers, and the ones who simply have some sense of self-preservation, tend to figure it out and drop Trump as a client after a while.
Just last month, for instance, attorney Joe Tacopina ditched Trump on the New York criminal case over hush money payments and falsification of business records, according to Forbes.
He follows a long list: Jim Trusty, who cited “irreconcilable differences” with the former president, Tim Parlatore who said he was exiting for reasons that were “personal,” and Drew Findling, who abruptly left behind the felony case in Georgia, just to name a few of the most recent departees.
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here: