Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is shaking up his legal team, cutting ties with WilmerHale and instead bringing on Miller and Chevalier, a Washington D.C. law firm that specializes in complicated financial crimes, as the Russia probe expands into his financial transactions, according to a report by Politico.
“Mr. Manafort is in the process of retaining his former counsel, Miller & Chevalier, to represent him in the office of special counsel investigation. As of today, WilmerHale no longer represents Mr. Manafort,” Manafort legal team spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement.
The New York Post first reported the story about Manafort searching for a new lawyer amid an intensifying federal investigation.
The move could signify a realization that the case has heated up, one of these people said, and that Manafort needs specialized criminal counsel. The switch comes after the FBI raided his home last month and a number of financial institutions were subpoenaed, these people said. The Washington Post first reported the home search, and Bloomberg first reported the bank subpoenas.
“FBI agents executed a search warrant at one of Mr. Manafort’s residences,” a spokesperson for Manafort said Wednesday. “Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well.”
On Thursday, Trump distanced himself from Manafort during a press conference when asked about the pre-dawn, no-knock raid of his former campaign chairman’s home, saying he hadn’t spoken to Manafort in “a very long time.”
“I’ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man,” Trump said. “He’s like a lot of other people, probably makes consultant fees from all over the place, who knows, I don’t know, but I thought it was pretty tough stuff to wake him up, perhaps his family was there. I think that’s pretty tough stuff.”