For months, former President Donald Trump’s legal team has been embroiled in an internal conflict and deep distrust that ultimately led to the departure of top lawyer Tim Parlatore last month, six sources told The Guardian.
After his resignation two weeks ago, the attorney cited irreconcilable differences with colleague and senior Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn as his reason for leaving, bringing into the public eye the legal team’s long-term discord.
Parlatore’s departure was “the culmination of months of simmering tensions that continue to threaten the effectiveness of the legal team at a crucial time,” the outlet reported. As special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents nears an end, many of those issues have gone unresolved.
In one instance, Trump attorney James Trusty complained about the “Game of Thrones nonsense” on the legal team.
Trusty complained about having to run legal decisions by Ephsteyn “even though he did not consider him a trial lawyer and objected to how, in his eyes, he gave more priority to Trump’s perceived PR problems than to genuine legal problems,” according to The Guardian’s Hugo Lowell.
“The conversation was overheard by this Guardian reporter who happened to be sitting at the table next to them,” Lowell wrote.
The legal team’s struggles largely involve several instances of hostility between the lawyers and toward Epshteyn over what they believe is his oversight of their work and restriction of direct access to Trump. Some of the lawyers also withheld information from colleagues they believed would brief Epshteyn among other failed efforts to push him out.
The tensions eventually escalated into the lawyers’ agreement to what sources called a “murder-suicide” pact, where some said they would resign if Parlatore was dismissed from the team.
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As the turmoil reached a fever pitch, the attorneys reportedly felt as though the infighting would cause the greatest detriment to their defense of the former president as opposed to cooperation from one of their own with prosecutors.
The special counsel recently interviewed Ephsteyn. Parlatore and fellow Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran have also testified before a grand jury in the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation.
According to the sources, Trump’s remaining lawyers confidently believe that Parlatore will not turn against Trump, especially after he testified last year that the former president gave him clearance to search his properties for any remaining documents, according to a transcript of his testimony.
A spokesperson for Trump denied the report.
“This is completely false and is rooted in pure fantasy,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The real story is the illegal weaponization of the Justice Department and their witch-hunts targeted to influence an election in order to try and prevent President Trump from returning to the White House.”
about Trump’s legal woes