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January 26, 2023
A New York Times report published this week claims the Trump Group covered the legal fees of several January 6th Committee witnesses, including Cassidy Hutchinson, who switched lawyers before giving bombshell testimony in a surprise hearing this week.
According to the Times, allies of Trump’s paid the attorney fees for Hutchinson and others who were not named in the NYT piece, but did name former White House advisor Stephen Miller, who was called to give closed-door testimony in April this year. Hutchinson, however, broke from her legal representation just before this week’s surprise House Committee hearing and hired a new attorney, Jody Hunt.
Trump’s political action group, Save America, has paid for attorneys to represent several former White House aides and others who have been subpoenaed or called to testify in the January 6 investigation. Additionally, American Conservative Union, a pro-Trump group, has reportedly paid the legal fees of over a dozen witnesses who have appeared in front of the panel.
The NYT report raises questions of whether the Trump Group’s involvement in paying legal fees for the witnesses amounts to witness tampering, a federal crime, or witness intimidation. It is not illegal for third parties to cover legal fees for those involved in investigations, but the practice in this case may approach a thin ethical line when it comes to witness tampering.
ABC News reported further on the NYT claims, and were able to identify five law firms that had received payments from PACs in the Trump orbit since the creation of the January 6 Committee last year. The firms had not received payments prior to the beginning of the investigation.
Committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren told CNN the panel is not certain that the payments are being made without some type of “coercion.”
“We talked about the hundreds of millions of dollars that the former president raised, some of that money is being used to pay for lawyers for witnesses,” Lofgren said. “And it’s not clear that that arrangement is one that is without coercion, potentially, for some of those witnesses.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DALLAS NEWS