Amidst the unfolding legal drama involving Donald Trump, key members within his former close-knit team seem to be distancing themselves. As the former president faces multiple criminal investigations, it appears that some of his close confidantes, including some former advisors, are adopting a tactic commonly seen in multi-defendant cases: casting oneself in a lesser role while shifting the blame toward a central figure.
Michael Cohen, who once played an indispensable role as Trump’s personal attorney, noted that Trump often prioritized his interests over others’. This insight into Trump’s behavior seems particularly relevant, as Cohen has transformed from Trump’s ally to a critical witness in a case against Trump related to undisclosed financial payments.
Recent events suggest a trend among some who were once Trump’s staunch supporters. For instance, an IT staffer from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort shifted his narrative concerning allegations of deleting surveillance recordings and is now collaborating with special counsel Jack Smith, further strengthening the case against Trump.
Furthermore, some GOP activists charged in Georgia for meddling with the certification of the 2020 election results have indicated that their actions were under Trump’s guidance. Moreover, Trump’s former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, who’s also implicated in the Georgia proceedings, hints at a defense strategy that might put Trump at the center of the alleged misconduct.
This dynamic isn’t entirely unusual. When multiple parties are facing grave consequences, it’s not uncommon for them to attempt to lessen their own perceived guilt by indicating a more prominent figure’s involvement. What’s exceptional in this case is that the person being pinpointed is a former U.S. president.
In a recent hearing, a conversation initiated by Trump with the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, became a focus. While Meadows facilitated this call, the audio revealed that his participation was minimal, unlike Trump’s.
As the case in Georgia progresses, lesser-known defendants might appear less guilty, especially if Trump becomes the primary subject of scrutiny. Scott Weinberg, an attorney experienced in high-stakes trials, observed that being tried alongside a notable figure like Trump could shift the jury’s attention mainly towards him.
Intriguingly, some defendants in Georgia, including David Shafer, Cathleen Latham, and Shawn Still, have claimed their alleged misconduct arose from directives received from Trump and his legal team. Their defense seems to center around the argument that they acted under Trump’s guidance.
Mark Meadows has testified that Trump considered a specific strategy crucial to his efforts to remain in office. The approach involved assembling false electors, a tactic Trump believed essential to his efforts to contest the election results.
However, as the cases progress, a significant defense move might emerge. Trump may assert presidential immunity to ward off charges. Such a move could impact how other defendants position themselves during the trials.
Several individuals implicated in the Georgia case are strategizing to gain the upper hand. Some are seeking separate trials, while others are negotiating financial support for their legal fees from Trump’s political funds.
Amidst these intricate legal maneuvers, it remains to be seen how Trump’s multiple cases will unfold and how his former allies’ strategies will shape the outcome.