Former President Donald Trump’s team is launching a legal defense fund aimed at helping to handle the onslaught of legal bills the former president and his allies face as the investigations into him mount, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.
On Monday, Save America PAC reported in its latest disclosure report to the Federal Election Commission more than $21.6 million in legal spending to defend Trump, his advisers and others in the first half of 2023.
For now, the legal fund is not meant to cover Trump’s own bills, the sources said.
The legal defense fund will be called the Patriot Legal Defense Fund Inc., the sources said. It is expected to be led by Michael Glassner, who has previously served in multiple senior roles on Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns.
Lynne Patton, who has been a close aide to Trump at both the Trump Organization and in Trump’s administration, will also be involved in the fund.
A Trump spokesperson provided a statement about the reasons for the defense fund.
“[A]nd to protect these innocent people from financial ruin and prevent their lives from being completely destroyed, a new legal defense fund will help pay for their legal fees to ensure they have representation against unlawful harassment,” the statement read.
News of the new pact was first reported by the New York Times.
Mounting legal costs come as Trump faces mounting legal troubles, including a superseding indictment handed up last week by a federal grand jury in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents after leaving office.
The superseding indictment charges Trump and two others — Carlos De Oliveira, head of maintenance at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and Trump aide Walt Nauta — with two obstruction counts based on allegations that the defendants attempted to delete surveillance video footage at Mar-a-Lago in the summer of 2022.
In June, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials, after prosecutors said he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information ranging from U.S. nuclear secrets to the nation’s defense capabilities. He has denied all charges and denounced the probe as a political witch hunt. Nauta, who was also previously charged, also pleaded not guilty. Neither of them has pleaded to the new charges yet.
De Oliveira is set to appear in court on Monday.
Trump separately faces a 34-count indictment in New York state court related to hush money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.
He is also a target of Smith’s investigation into the events surrounding Jan. 6 and his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.
He has denied wrongdoing and repeatedly claimed political persecution. At a campaign stop in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, he said, “These are ridiculous indictments, and all they’re doing is hoping for massive election interference.”
Trump and his allies have consistently pushed supporters to donate to Save America, often using false claims about the 2020 election and soliciting donations to rebuke the multiple investigations into the former president, his business dealings and his actions on Jan. 6.
The Save America PAC has, in the past, reported taking in tens of millions of dollars and has helped cover legal bills for either Trump or his allies.
Source : ABC News