Guess Who Had A Really Lousy, Anxiety-Ridden Day Yesterday
Hasn’t that been swell of Señor Trumpanzee to be paying the lawyers fees for the witnesses in his probable treason trial? On Monday evening a trio of Washington Post writers reported that Trump’s Save America PAC has spent millions of dollars on his and his cronies’ legal fees, including “paying legal bills for some key witnesses involved in the Justice Department investigation into whether Trump mishandled classified documents, obstructed the investigation or destroyed government records.”
It sure looks like he’s paying off Kash Patel— a real lowlife scumbag— and Walt Nauta, one of his valets who told FBI agents he was instructed by Trump “to move boxes at Mar-a-Lago, even as government investigators were trying to recover classified documents at that private club and residence.”
Both Patel and Nauta are represented by Brand Woodward Law, which according to public records has been paid more than $120,000 by Trump’s Save America PAC. Stan Brand, the top lawyer at the firm, said there is nothing improper about the PAC paying legal bills for witnesses in the investigation. Another lawyer not involved in the case, however, said it could encourage witnesses to not cooperate.
…Jim Walden, a former federal prosecutor, said the payment arrangement raises concerns about whether the reimbursement of legal fees may influence what the witnesses say or do. And he noted that if Justice Department officials have ethical concerns, they could ask a judge to, at a minimum, question the clients about whether they are certain their interests are being protected.
“It looks like the Trump political action committee is either paying for the silence of these witnesses, for them to take the Fifth or for favorable testimony,” Walden said. “These circumstances should look very suspicious to the Justice Department, and there’s a judicial mechanism for them to get court oversight if there’s a conflict.”
Other witnesses represented by Brand Woodward whose legal bills are being paid by Trump’s PAC include Trump’s longtime adviser Dan Scavino and at least one other personal aide who has testified in front of the grand jury.
…Trump has been willing to have his PAC pay the bills of aides who are loyal to him or continue to work for him, the people familiar with the matter said. The Republican National Committee has paid legal bills for Trump advisers in the past, including during probes of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and has shouldered more than $1.5 million in legal bills for Trump since he left office.
Trump’s PAC has around $70 million and he’s pretty stingy with it, using it almost solely to benefit himself. He was sure tight-fisted when it came to the Georgia runoff yesterday. Poor Herschel could have used the help. But his closer than expected loss last night wasn’t as personally disastrous for Trump as the Trump Organization being found guilty on all 17 counts in the trial that ended yesterday. “The conviction on all 17 counts, after more than a day of jury deliberations in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, resulted from a long-running scheme in which the Trump Organization doled out off-the-books luxury perks to some executives: They received fancy apartments, leased Mercedes-Benzes, even private school tuition for relatives, none of which they paid taxes on. The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which led the case against two Trump Organization entities, had previously extracted a guilty plea from the architect of the scheme, Allen Weisselberg, the company’s long-serving chief financial officer. Weisselberg, one of the former president’s most loyal lieutenants, testified as the prosecution’s star witness, but never implicated Trump.”
Trump wasn’t indicted even though “he personally paid for some of the perks and even approved a crucial aspect of the scheme… The company’s conviction— coupled with the prosecution’s explosive claim at trial that Trump was ‘explicitly sanctioning tax fraud’— could now reverberate through the 2024 presidential race, providing early fodder for opponents and their attack ads. It also might lay the groundwork for the district attorney’s office to intensify its broader criminal investigation into Trump’s business practices— and hush money paid to a porn star who said she had an affair with him— an inquiry that gained momentum in recent months.”
The statement from Public Citizen summed it up nicely: “Today, in a victory for accountability, Donald Trump’s shockingly unaccountable company was finally branded as fraudulent. The verdict reflects that Trump’s organization fostered crime and had a culture of illegality that is simply unacceptable. Convicted on all 17 counts of tax and financial crimes, the stench of illegal behavior will never wear off.”
And then there was this...