Donald Trump fails to find new lawyers in time for Miami indictment

Trump supporter

Trump supporters have started to gather outside the courthouse in Miami

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 13/06/2023

- 14:57

Updated: 13/06/2023

- 17:21

The former US president has resorted to his existing depleted counsel after a fruitless scramble

Donald Trump is set to rely on those lawyers he has left to fight federal criminal charges of willfully retaining documents including national security and nuclear secrets.

After an unsuccessful dragnet recruitment search, Trump is expected to put up former federal prosecutor Todd Blanche as a one-off local counsel and former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise is predicted to appear pro hac vice.

Trump’s temporary attorneys are the latest development in the soap opera that is Trump’s legal counsel, with the former US president’s efforts to replace deserting lawyers with local Florida recruits proving calamitous.

After a busy Monday unsuccessfully wooing potential lawyers at the Trump National Doral Miami resort, Trump and his legal team offered the backup brigade the reins over dinner at the Doral’s BLT Prime restaurant.

\u200bDonald Trump has touched down in Miami

Donald Trump has touched down in Miami


Insider sources say Trump’s co-defendant Walk Nauta will be represented by Stanley Woodward.

Hours after the indictment had been announced on Friday last week, two of Trump’s top lawyers, Jim Trusty and John Rowley, made an undignified but understandable dash for the door.

Trusty and Rowley’s departure from the tumultuous Trump legal team came hot on the heels of Tim Parlatore, who resigned in May, and the recusal of Evan Corcoran.

Rumour has it the pair already had one foot out the door due to disagreements with Boris Epshteyn, one of Trump’s long-standing legal advisors.

Epshteyn is said to have ruffled feathers by backing a soft coup that delivered Blanche as lead counsel and for micromanaging from the wings.

Behind his back, Trump’s legal team is reported to have nicknamed him ‘Porous’ Epshteyn, on suspicion that he leaks material to the press, and ‘Boris Inept-shteyn’.

A pigs head on a pole outside the courthouse

A pig's head is placed outside the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr courthouse


Despite the unrest and resignations, Epshteyn remains one of Trump’s most-trusted advisers.

In his search for a Florida lawyer, Trump was reportedly turned down by top targets Howard Srebnick, who won an appeal in the ‘Sexy Miami Beach Bar-Girl Case’ of 2016, and David Markus, who recently defended Florida Democratic governor candidate Andrew Gillum against charges of lying to the FBI and funnelling campaign contributions into his personal accounts.

Trump is thought to have also interviewed Bruce Zimet, the former chief assistant US attorney in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, the self-proclaimed ‘pugnacious trial attorney’ William Barzee, and Benedict Kuehne, who currently faces disbarment for contempt of court in a recent civil suit he lost.

Instead, Trump, 76, will attend Miami’s Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr courthouse flanked by his streamlined Praetorian guard, as he stares down the barrel of the 37-count federal indictment which could put him behind bars for decades.

Trump will go before US District Judge Aileen Cannon, a public servant he appointed himself and who was previously criticised for her handling of his civil case earlier this year that challenged the FBI’s raid of his home Mar-a-Lago.

Cannon's initial ruling, which was favourable to Trump, raised a few eyebrows and was subsequently overruled on appeal.

Trump mask near the courthouse

FBI seized 13,000 documents including 103 marked as classified of which 18 were the highest security clearance of top secret


On Monday, supporters gathered on the bridge by Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where documents were allegedly recovered from boxes in the bathroom, ballroom, shower, storeroom, office and bedroom.

The Florida Republican Assembly, described as a fringe ‘Judeo-Christian political organisation promoting conservative principles and candidates within the Republican party’, has organised four coaches from Orlando to Miami at 10 am on Tuesday.

This ‘America First Freedom Road Trip’ will be joined by a ‘MAGA Trump flag and sign-waving rally’ on the other side.

Trump supporters and opponents have already started gathering outside the courthouse, though Trump is expected to arrive via underground car park where he will be walked by a US Marshal down a tunnel and into the building.

From there, the Republican party nomination frontrunner will be electronically fingerprinted and held under arrest pending arrangement in a 13th floor courtroom.

Bracing for a potentially turbulent day, Miami’s mayor, Francis Suarez, said: “We are working with our law enforcement partners at all levels... ultimately to ensure that tomorrow goes off without any hitch. We want to assure the public that we’re ready.

“In our community we believe people should have the right to express themselves but we also believe in law and order. We hope tomorrow will be peaceful.”

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