Updated Jun 9, 2023, 12:59pm EDT
politicsNorth America

Two top Trump lawyers quit hours after indictment

REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

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The News

Two of former President Donald Trump’s top lawyers have quit his legal team just hours after he was indicted in the classified documents probe.

In a joint statement, attorneys Jim Trusty and John Rowley said they would no longer represent Trump in both the documents case and the Jan. 6 investigation. They suggested that they stepped aside because the case was filed in Miami.

“It has been an honor to have spent the last year defending him, and we know he will be vindicated in his battle against the Biden administration’s partisan weaponization of the American justice system,” their statement said.

Trump meanwhile suggested on Truth Social that he had fired Trusty and Rowley.

“I want to thank Jim Trusty and John Rowley for their work, but they were up against a very dishonest, corrupt, evil, and ‘sick’ group of people, the likes of which has not been seen before,” he wrote.

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Know More

The news of their resignation came as Trump also announced that his associate and former military valet Walt Nauta has also been charged in connection to the documents probe. Nauta allegedly helped move several boxes of classified documents at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate, according to media reports, raising suspicion that he could have been involved in obstruction of justice.

The charges will remain sealed until Trump’s arraignment on June 13, but reports say he is facing at least seven counts related to alleged mishandling of classified documents.

The New York Times reports that two of the counts include conspiracy to obstruct and willful retention of documents, and Trusty told CNN on Thursday that one of the charge is filed under the Espionage Act.

Part of the evidence used in the indictment included an audio file of Trump admitting in a meeting that he had not declassified a Pentagon document about attacking Iran, CNN reported.

“As president, I could have declassified, but now I can’t,” Trump said, according to the transcript of the recording.

Trump-appointed District Judge Aileen Cannon has been assigned to oversee the case, at least initially, according to multiple reports. Cannon was criticized last year after granting a request from Trump’s legal team to have a special master review the classified documents before allowing the DOJ to continue its investigation. Her decision was later overturned by a federal appeals court.

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Step Back

The classified documents controversies were sparked after an FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago that turned up more than 13,000 files that Trump had refused to hand over to the National Archive after leaving office, as required by law.

Since then, he has pursued several legal attempt to stop investigators from reviewing the seized documents.

Classified documents were also found at properties owned by both President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, but the two immediately admitted wrongdoing and surrendered the documents to authorities.

The DOJ has appointed Special Counsel Robert Hurt to oversee the probe into Biden's mishandling of documents. The investigation into Pence has ended without any charges, the department said last week.