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Trump shakes up legal team in wake of classified documents indictment

<i>Nathan Howard/Bloomberg/Getty Images</i><br/>Jim Trusty (left) and John Rowley
Nathan Howard/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Jim Trusty (left) and John Rowley

By Kaitlan Collins and Alayna Treene, CNN

(CNN) — Former President Donald Trump’s legal team is undergoing a significant shakeup in the wake of his indictment in the special counsel’s classified documents probe.

In a sudden move, Trump announced Friday morning that he was removing two of his top attorneys, Jim Trusty and John Rowley, from the case and said Todd Blanche, a defense lawyer he hired in April after being indicted in Manhattan, would take the lead. Soon after, Trusty and Rowley issued a joint statement in which they said they were resigning from the legal team entirely.

Trump is considering adding Miami-based attorney Benedict Kuehne to his legal team, a source familiar with the matter told CNN. He has not been formally added to the team yet but could join soon given Trump’s expected court appearance on Tuesday. CNN has reached out to Kuehne for comment.

Lindsay Halligan, who is barred in the state where Trump was indicted, also remains on the team.

In their statement, Trusty and Rowley said they were confident Trump will be “vindicated in his battle against the Biden Administration’s partisan weaponization of the American justice system” and said now was a “logical” time for them to step aside with the case having been filed in Miami.

They added that they do not plan to make media appearances or to reveal conversations they’ve had with Trump. Trusty appeared on CNN just hours after Trump announced that he had been indicted to defend his client but also left open the door to potential changes in the legal team.

Asked which members of the team would accompany Trump to court Tuesday, Trusty said, “We’ll see. It’ll make some excitement to see who shows up to the table on Tuesday, I guess.”

Shortly before Friday’s statement was issued by Trusty and Rowley, Trump disclosed on Truth Social that neither would be representing him. He thanked them for their work, saying they “were up against a very dishonest, corrupt, evil, and ‘sick’ group of people,” but did not explain why they were departing.

Trump’s legal team has seen significant turnover as the investigation into the mishandling of classified documents has unfolded. Last month, Timothy Parlatore, an attorney who played a key role in the investigation and once testified before the grand jury, left Trump’s legal team due to infighting, he told CNN’s Paula Reid.

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