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Trump’s Legal Defense Costs Soar to $76.7 Million Ahead of 2024 Presidential Race

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Former President Donald Trump has spent a staggering $76 million on legal fees over the past two years, according to recent Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

This substantial expenditure comes as Trump faces mounting legal challenges, including multiple lawsuits and felony charges.

As he gears up for a potential 2024 presidential run, Trump’s financial commitment to legal defense remains a significant aspect of his political journey.

Failed Expert Witness and Costly Legal Battle

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Trump’s Save America political action committee shelled out nearly $930,000 to New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov, who served as an expert witness in the New York attorney general’s civil fraud case against Trump’s real estate empire.

Testimony Failed

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However, Bartov’s testimony failed to impress New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron, who declared that the professor’s testimony demonstrated that “for a million or so dollars, some experts will say whatever you want them to say.”

Overwhelming Legal Expenses

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An Associated Press analysis of FEC filings reveals that last year alone, Trump’s political fundraising machine expended a total of $54 million on legal costs.

Save America accounted for the lion’s share of these expenditures, with 84% of the committee’s spending allocated to legal fees.

Staggering $76.7 Million Legal Expenses

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When combined with FEC data from 2022, Trump’s various fundraising organizations have dedicated a staggering $76.7 million to legal expenses over the past two years, underscoring the legal challenges Trump faces as he vies for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Experts Downplay Impact on Trump’s Campaign

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Richard Briffault, a campaign finance regulation and government ethics specialist at Columbia Law School, believes that despite the substantial legal expenses, they are unlikely to hinder Trump’s White House aspirations.

Fundraising Capabilities

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Briffault points out that Trump’s fundraising capabilities have consistently allowed him to secure substantial financial resources for his campaigns.

Trump’s Response and Legal Team Costs

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Trump has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has characterized the numerous felony charges and lawsuits against him as partisan efforts to thwart his presidential ambitions.

Lawyer Compensation

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Notably, several of his prominent lawyers have each received over $5 million in payments, funded entirely by campaign donors.

For instance, Alina Habba, who represented Trump in a sexual assault and defamation suit, tops the list with $6 million in earnings.

Trump’s Courtroom Appearances and Political Narrative

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Despite suffering losses in some legal battles, such as the E. Jean Carroll case, where Trump was ordered to pay more than $88 million, he has used his courtroom appearances as a platform to portray himself as a victim of a corrupt justice system.

Trump often seizes the opportunity to emphasize that his political opponents are trying to silence him and his supporters.

Multifaceted Legal Battles

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Trump is currently facing multiple legal challenges, including federal charges related to classified records at his Mar-a-Lago resort and allegations of undermining the 2020 election.

He also faces state charges in Georgia for alleged election interference and hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign, as charged by New York City prosecutors.

Key Legal Team Members

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Trump’s legal team includes high-profile attorneys like Chris Kise, who left the megafirm Foley & Lardner to represent him.

Kise has received $5.1 million in donor dollars over the last two years and, alongside Alina Habba, is defending Trump in the New York fraud lawsuit, which could have significant financial implications.

Campaign Funds for Legal Representation

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Trump’s campaign has also allocated funds to pay attorneys who have represented co-defendants and potential witnesses in his various legal cases.

Brand Woodward Law in Washington, for example, received $660,000, a portion of which came in 2023, and has represented Trump valet Walt Nauta, who is accused of concealing Mar-a-Lago security camera footage.

Bartov’s Perspective and the Civil Fraud Case

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Eli Bartov, despite being an accounting professor and not an attorney, received nearly $930,000 from Save America for his legal consulting services in Trump’s defense.

Bartov’s involvement highlights both the benefits and risks of aligning oneself with Trump’s legal team. While Bartov testified in December that he found no evidence of accounting fraud in Trump’s financial statements, Judge Engoron publicly criticized him for attempting to justify every misstatement, causing him to lose credibility.

New York Attorney General’s Case

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The New York attorney general’s case against Trump centers on allegations of fraudulent inflation of the value of assets such as Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago to secure loans and business deals.

Trump continues to deny any wrongdoing and remains steadfast in his legal battles as he navigates the intricate landscape of lawsuits and charges.

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