December 5, 2023

Donald Trump’s attorney, James Trusty, appears on “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2023.

NBCUniversal | Getty Images

A lawyer who quit the team defending Donald Trump in a criminally classified document case said Friday he will no longer be filing a separate defamation suit against CNN on behalf of the former president.

Attorney Jim Trusty said in a court filing that his request to withdraw from the $475 million civil suit was “based on irreconcilable differences” with Trump.

“Attorneys can no longer effectively and properly represent plaintiffs,” Trusty wrote in a filing with U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Lawyers for Trusty and CNN did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Trusty’s exit as Trump lawyer.

Lindsey Halligan, Trump’s remaining attorney in the defamation case, referred CNBC to former presidential spokesman Steven Cheung, who said the defamation suit “is coming with more irrefutable The truth is revealed and a new stage is entered.”

“We thank Mr. Trusty for his work on this case and wish him well,” Cheung said.

A week ago, Trusty and another attorney, John Rowley, resigned as Trump’s lawyers in the federal criminal case that just resulted in his indictment for trying to stay on vacation after leaving office. A large number of confidential documents are kept in the house. Sea Lake Manor.

“Now that the case has been filed in Miami, now is the logical moment for us to step back and let someone else complete the case,” Trusty and Rowley said in a statement.

Four days later, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 counts, including defense records retention, concealment of documents and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The lawyers’ statement also noted that they will no longer be defending Trump in another ongoing federal criminal investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith oversaw both investigations.

They bear little resemblance to the civil libel suit Trump filed against CNN in October.

Trump, who has a long record of attacking media outlets and specific journalists for reports he doesn’t like, accused CNN of running a “smear campaign” against him, including comparing him to Adolf Hitler.

The lawsuit blames CNN’s frequent invocation of “big lies,” a term used to refer to various bogus election fraud allegations peddled by Trump and his allies as they claim President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory was rigged.

“The ‘Wicked Lie’ refers directly to a tactic adopted by Adolf Hitler and featured in Hitler’s Mein Kampf,” said the complaint from Trump’s legal team, which at the time also included Trusty.

CNN asked the court in November to dismiss the case, calling Trump’s claims “indefensible and offensive to press freedom and open political debate.”

The media pointed out that Trump’s lawsuit depends on only five CNN reports. It argued that none of them suggested he “had the character of Hitler”.

Trump’s complaint suggests CNN is defaming him in an effort to undermine his potential candidacy in the next presidential election. Trump, who launches his 2024 campaign next month, has been leading the Republican primary in opinion polls.

Trump is seeking $475 million in punitive damages and more than $75,000 in compensatory damages.