Prosecutors are examining former President Donald Trump’s political operation after it paid more than $44 million to lawyers and law firms representing potential witnesses and codefendants in his ongoing legal cases since 2020, according to an analysis by OpenSecrets. These payments, which account for approximately half of the operation’s legal expenses during that period, have raised concerns about Trump pressuring witnesses given his alleged history of attempting to influence them.
The district attorney’s office in Fulton County, Georgia, which is prosecuting Trump and 18 co-defendants in an election interference case, provided a list of potential witnesses, several of whom have been represented by lawyers or law firms that were also paid by Trump’s political network. Federal court records from the fight over Special Counsel Jack Smith’s search warrant for Trump’s Twitter account, unsealed on September 15, highlight Trump’s alleged propensity for retaliation and describe his payment of legal fees for “potential witnesses against him” as an “obstructive effort.”
Trump is currently facing allegations of witness tampering in multiple ongoing cases. In one instance, a key potential witness in the Mar-a-Lago document retention case retracted his previous false testimony after the Justice Department raised concerns about a conflict of interest involving his initial lawyer, who also represented another defendant in the case. The witness, identified as Yuscil Taveras, an information technology worker at Mar-a-Lago, was previously represented by lawyer Stanley Woodward, whose firm has received $376,000 from Trump’s political network. Woodward also represents other potential witnesses and one of Trump’s codefendants, Walt Nauta.
Other law firms that have represented potential witnesses in Trump’s legal cases and received payments from his political network include Jones Day, which has collected over $19 million since 2020, and the law firm of Jesse Binnall, Trump’s top election fraud lawyer, which has received $4.2 million. Trump’s political network has also paid Elections LLC approximately $4.1 million and Silverman Thompson Slutkin $3.4 million since the start of 2022.
Overall, Trump’s political network has reported directing around $130 million in donor funds to cover legal costs since his initial presidential campaign. While primarily associated with Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign, the network also includes his leadership PAC, joint fundraising committees, and super PACs run by Trump allies.
The payments made by Trump’s political operation to lawyers representing potential witnesses and defendants in his ongoing legal cases are now under scrutiny by prosecutors, raising concerns about potential witness tampering and obstruction of justice.