Trump is shaking up his Georgia legal team ahead of the Atlanta booking

Shortly before his visit to an Atlanta jail charged with 13 felonies, Donald J. Trump reshuffled his Georgia legal defense team, adding Steve Sadow, a veteran criminal defense attorney who has handled a number of high-profile cases.

Mr Sadow filed a document with the court on Thursday stating that he is now “lead counsel for Donald John Trump.”

Mr Trump’s decision comes shortly after one of his attorneys, Drew Findling, and his two other attorneys in the Georgia case, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg, negotiated $200,000 bail for Mr Trump, who is one of 19 The indictment alleges involvement in a “criminal enterprise” aimed at resolving Mr Trump’s 2020 election defeat in Georgia.

According to a person familiar with the matter, Mr Findling is expected to be fired while Ms Little will be kept.

Mr Trump, who is often unhappy with the attorneys he hires, has been inquiring for several days about who else he could consult. such a person familiar with the discussions who was not authorized to speak publicly. According to the person, Mr Trump’s main concern was that he wanted a “more challenging” team.

Mr Sadow said in a statement that Mr Trump “should never have been charged,” adding, “He is innocent of all charges against him.”

“Prosecutions designed to further or serve the ambitions and careers of political opponents of the President have no place in our justice system,” he said.

The tremor was first reported by ABC News.

Mr. Trump is expected to appear Thursday at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, where he is likely to be fingerprinted and photographed, as is normally the case with all county defendants. Supporters of Mr Trump arrived in front of the prison early in the morning; By 9:30 a.m., dozens of people were there, carrying signs and shouting slogans.

Rick Hearn, 44, an Atlanta accountant, displayed a poster with a picture of Mr Trump next to one of Nelson Mandela with the caption “political prisoners”.

“I feel like I have to be a part of it,” Mr Hearn said, adding that “those in charge” need to know they “can’t take away our rights and get away with it”.

The indictment against Georgia, released last week, is the fourth criminal case against Mr Trump to be filed this year. It is aimed not only at him but also at a number of his allies, who are accused of complicity in election interference after the November 2020 vote. The defendants include Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr Trump’s former attorney, and Mark Meadows, Mr Trump’s former White House chief of staff.

As of Thursday morning, nearly half of the 19 accused were in jail and a spate of judicial maneuvers was underway. Three defendants are attempting to have their cases referred to federal court: Mr. Meadows; Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official; and David Shafer, a former leader of the Georgia Republican Party.

Another defendant, Kenneth Chesebro, filed an expedited trial request on Wednesday, which under Georgia law requires the trial for all 19 defendants to begin by Nov. 3 — months earlier than prosecutors are requesting.

With all the pre-trial dispute that needs to be resolved, the final timing of a trial or trials remains uncertain.

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, Fani T. Willis, is prosecuting the case. Your office has requested that the indictment hearings take place during the week of September 5th. Defendants have the right to waive their right to appear at an indictment hearing where the defendants respond to the allegations against them.

On Thursday, Ms. Willis’ office subpoenaed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and a former chief investigator in Mr. Raffensperger’s office, Frances Watson, to testify Monday in connection with Mr. Meadows’ efforts to bring the case to federal court .

Mr Trump often reshuffles his legal team abruptly and has worked through numerous lawyers over the course of his decades of business practice and his more recent political career. It is known that he sometimes refused to pay lawyers for their work.

His attorneys in connection with the four criminal cases are being paid, but not from Mr Trump’s personal funds; Instead, he uses funds donated by his supporters following the 2020 election after he said he needed help to pursue allegations of widespread voter fraud – allegations that have been largely debunked.

Several attorneys working on Mr Trump’s behalf have had legal issues of their own recently, particularly related to the Georgia prosecution.

Mr. Sadow is widely regarded in the Atlanta legal community as one of the city’s most talented criminal defense attorneys. Like Mr. Findling, Mr. Sadow has represented rap clients including TI, Rick Ross and the singer Usher.

Mr. Sadow represented rapper Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, in a high-profile case in Fulton County. Mr. Kitchens pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in December in the broad trial of Young Slime Life, or YSL, an Atlanta hip-hop collective. He was released after his original five-year sentence was commuted to time served and the remainder was suspended.

More than two decades ago, Mr. Sadow was a staple of news reports about a scandal involving an Atlanta strip club called the Gold Club, which federal prosecutors say had ties to the Gambino crime family in New York and was a hideout for criminals involved in prostitution and fraud. Mr. Sadow represented the club’s owner, Steven E. Kaplan, who pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, a finding Mr. Sadow was demanding “A very good offer for everyone involved.”

When Mr. Trump chose Mr. Findling to lead his Georgia legal defense team last summer, that choice suited Mr. Trump’s ties to pop culture and his affinity for outsize figures. Often photographed wearing stylish shades, Mr. Findling bills himself as the #BillionDollarLawyer on Instagram and has represented rappers such as Cardi B, Gucci Mane and Migos.

Before he was hired, Mr. Findling had repeatedly criticized Mr. Trump on social media. In 2018, he labeled Mr Trump “the racist architect of the fraudulent Trump University.”

But when he was hired, Mr Findling vigorously defended Mr Trump. Ahead of the indictment of the former president last week, Mr Findling and his team attempted to throw out evidence collected by a special grand jury and remove Ms Willis from the case.

His strategy was seen by many legal observers as aggressive but worth trying, although it tried the presiding judge’s patience and ultimately proved unsuccessful.

Like Mr. Findling, Mr. Sadow has publicly expressed concerns about Mr. Trump. Heading for a dig at former FBI Director James Comey in a 2017 Twitter exchange, Mr. Sadow made it clear that he was “not a DT supporter.”

Sean Keenan and Christian Boone contributed coverage.