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Trump leadership PAC spends more than $40 million on legal fees amid indictments


By Alayna Treene, CNN

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump’s political action committee, Save America, has spent more than $40 million on legal fees since the start of this year, a source familiar with the matter told CNN.

The PAC, which raises most of its funds through small-dollar donations from Trump’s supporters, is expected to report to the Federal Election Commission on Monday that it spent $40.2 million on legal costs in the first half of the year – more than double the amount the group spent on legal fees in all of 2022.

Save America spent over $16 million on legal costs in 2022, according to Federal Election Commission records. The political action committee must file its disclosure report covering the first six months of this year by the end of the day Monday.

The Washington Post first reported the PAC’s spending on legal costs.

Trump’s team argues that the considerable amount of money being spent on defending the former president and members of his inner circle is necessary as Trump’s legal troubles mount.

“In order to combat these heinous actions by Joe Biden’s cronies and to protect these innocent people from financial ruin and prevent their lives from being completely destroyed, the leadership PAC contributed to their legal fees to ensure they have representation against unlawful harassment,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told CNN.

Trump’s team is also creating a legal defense fund to help offset some of the enormous bills incurred, two sources familiar with the planning told CNN on Sunday. The new fund, first reported by The New York Times, is expected to cover the bills of some of Trump’s current and former aides and employees who have been wrapped up in various investigations into the former president. It will be called the Patriot Legal Defense Fund Inc., according to the sources, and will be led by Trump associate and adviser Michael Glassner.

Special counsel Jack Smith brought new charges on Thursday against Trump, his aide Walt Nauta and a third defendant, Carlos De Oliveira, in the case alleging Trump mishandled classified documents after leaving the White House.

The charges included allegations that Trump and his employees attempted to delete Mar-a-Lago security footage sought by the grand jury. Both Nauta and De Oliveira are being represented by attorneys paid for by Trump’s operation.

The former president was also indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on more than 30 counts related to business fraud in March and faces potential charges in the special counsel’s January 6 grand jury investigation, as well as an investigation by the Fulton County District Attorney’s office in Georgia relating to claims of voter fraud after the 2020 election. Trump has expanded his legal team as his legal challenges grow.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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