Former President Donald Trump has retained noted Atlanta lawyer Drew Findling to represent him in the ongoing criminal investigation by the Fulton County special purpose grand jury examining what happened in Georgia after the 2020 presidential election.
Trump’s hiring of Findling, along with Atlanta lawyer Jennifer Little, was confirmed by attorneys with knowledge of the matter. Findling, a highly regarded criminal defense attorney, has represented a number of notable clients. These include Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, former Atlanta City Hall employee Mitzi Bickers, NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, singer Faith Evans and several famous rappers, including Gucci Mane and Migos.
Now Findling’s law firm represents a former president in one of the highest profile cases in the country.
“Drew is a spectacular attorney and the former president could not have chosen better,” said Atlanta criminal defense attorney Bruce Morris.
Findling, known for his trademark dark sunglasses, is a former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. On his Twitter account, he refers to himself with the hashtag #billiondollarlawyer.
Little, both a criminal defense lawyer and civil litigator, once prosecuted major cases for the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office. In 2010, she was named Attorney of the Year by the DeKalb DA’s office.
Atlanta lawyer Robert Highsmith, who often represents public officials in civil matters, praised Little’s defense work in resolving a number of delicate cases before they ever became public.
“I have worked with Jen Little in a wide variety of matters, many of them very sensitive, many of them involving very high-profile clients who have both civil and, frankly, more frequently, criminal exposure,” Highsmith said. “She has just done absolutely fantastic work on behalf of some fairly high profile folks over the years. I would say defendants, except in many cases, Jen’s work kept them from ever becoming defendants.”
Late Thursday, Findling’s law firm released a statement saying the legal team “may differ in our personal politics, however, all the attorneys were compelled to act when it became obvious that an abuse of the system was being perpetrated in this local and civil grand jury proceeding. ... We are committed to fighting this misuse of the law and taxpayer resources.”
It added, “The team is confident that there have been no violations of Georgia law. The focus on President Trump may be newsworthy, but this investigation is wholly misdirected and politically driven.”
Little, in a statement of her own, said, “There have been no violations of Georgia law. We as a team look forward to vigorously defending our client and the Constitution.”
Findling, who is active on social media, has sent out a number of tweets critical of Trump. For example, in 2018 when Trump criticized NBA star LeBron James, Findling tweeted, “POTUS pathetic once again!”
The special purpose grand jury was convened in May. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said the primary impetus behind the probe was Trump’s Jan. 2, 2021, phone call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he asked Raffensperger to “find” him 11,780 votes, one more than was needed to overturn the election results.
Trump has said he did nothing wrong and characterized the conversation as a “perfect phone call.”
In an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this year, Findling gave his thoughts about Trump’s phone call with Raffensperger. Findling said people make poor decisions all the time but they’re not prosecuted for it.
“And no one cares whether it was a perfect phone call,” he said. “The only question is does it surpass, permeate the threshold, the barrier that exists between a crime being committed? It could just fall short. It could be an imperfect phone call, but it’s not a crime, it’s just an imperfect phone call.”
The past week has been notable for the former president. On Monday, the FBI executed a warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla., in search of classified, presidential documents Trump should no longer possess.
On Wednesday, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself hundreds of times while being questioned by lawyers from New York’s Attorney General’s Office, according to published reports. The New York AG has been investigating the business practices of the Trump Organization.
In the Fulton County investigation, prosecutors have been serving subpoenas on members of Trump’s inner circle. They include U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who made two phones calls to Raffensperger; attorney John Eastman, a key player in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election; and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose law license has been suspended in New York for his false claims of election fraud in Georgia and other states.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has confirmed that a number of people, including the slate of 16 fake Republican electors who cast sham Electoral College ballots for Trump, have been notified by the DA’s office they are targets of the special grand jury probe. But no word has surfaced publicly that Trump has been told he’s a target.
Norm Eisen, general counsel to House Democrats during Trump’s first impeachment trial and coauthor of a Brookings Institution report on the Fulton County case, said Findling is well respected by the criminal defense bar.
“He has a reputation as an outstanding lawyer and Donald Trump is going to need one because the evidence of possible criminal misconduct against him in Georgia is powerful,” Eisen said.
Eisen noted that Trump has been known not to pay his attorneys in full, and that some of the former president’s own attorneys have found themselves in legal trouble.
“So considering the combination of dealing with the powerful evidence of criminality, Trump’s past record of payment difficulties and the toxic dangers of being Trump’s lawyer, this is a retention from hell,” Eisen said.
On Thursday, Decatur attorney Dwight Thomas confirmed he has been helping Findling and attorneys representing others who are a focus of the special purpose grand jury investigation.
“I serve as a consultant to Drew and other lawyers,” Thomas said.
Thomas once represented former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones during two special purpose grand jury investigations and former DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis in another.
”Several lawyers have reached out to me about my expertise in special purpose grand juries,” Thomas said. “I’m helping quite a few lawyers who have interest in this matter.”
Thomas, whose involvement was first reported by Yahoo News, noted he is not an attorney of record for any target of the special purpose grand jury investigation.
Staff writer Tamar Hallerman contributed to this story.