Donald J. Trump has brought in veteran criminal defense lawyer Steve Sadow as his lead counsel of record ahead of his booking on 13 felony counts at an Atlanta jail. This decision follows the negotiation of a $200,000 bond for Trump by his previous lawyers in a racketeering indictment that alleges his involvement in attempting to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia. While the lawyer who negotiated the bond, Drew Findling, is expected to be let go, Jennifer Little will be retained. Trump’s main concern was reportedly to have a more “sophisticated” legal team.
The indictment in Georgia is the fourth criminal case against Trump this year and includes several of his allies, such as Rudolph W. Giuliani and Mark Meadows. As of Thursday morning, nearly half of the 19 defendants had been booked at the Fulton County Jail, and legal maneuvering is already underway. Some defendants are seeking to remove their cases to federal court, while others are demanding a speedy trial. The timing of any trials remains uncertain due to unresolved pretrial wrangling. Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis has requested arraignments to take place in early September and has subpoenaed the Georgia secretary of state and a former chief investigator in connection with moving the case to federal court.
Trump is known for frequently reconfiguring his legal teams, and he has cycled through numerous lawyers throughout his career. The lawyers working on his behalf in the criminal cases are being paid via donations from his supporters following the 2020 election. Steve Sadow is considered one of Atlanta’s most skilled criminal defense lawyers and has represented high-profile clients in the past. This includes rapper Gunna in a racketeering case where the initial five-year sentence was commuted to time served. Sadow was also involved in a scandal two decades ago involving a strip club tied to the Gambino crime family. When initially hired, Trump’s previous lawyer, Drew Findling, had criticized him on social media but mounted a vigorous defense once hired. Sadow has also expressed misgivings about Trump in the past.