Two of former President Donald J. Trump’s attorneys who interacted directly with the Justice Department have left his team, according to a social media post from Mr. Trump and a statement from the attorneys.
The attorneys, James Trusty and John Rowley, left Trump’s legal team a day after he was indicted on seven federal counts in connection with his handling of government documents at his Florida home and resort, Mar-a-Lago.
“To combat the Greatest Witch Hunt of All Time, which now moves to the Florida Courts, I will be represented by Todd Blanche, Esq., and firm to be named later,” Trump wrote in the post. “I want to thank Jim Trusty and John Rowley for their work, but they had to go up against a very dishonest, corrupt, evil and ‘sick’ group of people, the likes of which has never been seen before. We will be announcing additional lawyers in the coming days.”
In a joint statement released shortly after Mr Trump’s announcement, the two lawyers wrote that they had submitted their resignations. “It has been an honor to have defended him this past year, and we know he will be vindicated,” they wrote.
The departure of Mr. trusty and mr. Rowley joined Mr. Trump, Timothy Parlatore. Days after Mr. Parlatore stepped down from representing Mr. Trump, he complained on NewsMadura about how another attorney close to Mr. Trump, Boris Epshteyn, had created conflict within the legal team.
On Thursday night, within two hours of the legal team being notified of the indictment, Mr. Trusty was one of the faces on cable news defending Mr. Trump, appearing on NewsMadura to denounce the case against him.
mr. trusty and mr. Rowley were two of three attorneys who attended a meeting with Justice Department officials, including Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, three days before the indictment.
Two people familiar with the matter said that Mr. Trusty and Mr. Rowley had repeatedly complained about working with Mr. Epshteyn. One of these people, with direct knowledge of the events, said this was part of the reason for the departure. That person said that Mr. Trusty and Mr. Rowley are still on good terms with Mr. Trump.
Mr. Blanche, who is already representing Mr. Trump in the case against him in a Manhattan court, represents both Mr. Trump and Mr. Epshteyn.
In their statement, Mr. trusty and mr. Rowley that the case’s shift to Florida made it “A logical moment for us to step aside and let others see things through.”
They added: “We have no plans to make any media appearances about our recordings or any other confidential communications we have had with the president or his legal team.”
Mr. Parlatore, on the other hand, went on NewsMadura and directly blamed Mr. Epshteyn when he left the team.
A spokesman for Mr Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment about those tensions.