James Trusty, attorney for Donald Trump, appears on “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., April 9, 2023.

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A lawyer who resigned from Donald Trump’s defense team in the classified criminal documents case said Friday he would not represent the former president in a separate defamation case against CNN.

Attorney Jim Trosetti said in a lawsuit that his request to withdraw from the $475 million civil lawsuit was “based on irreconcilable differences” with Trump.

“A lawyer can no longer effectively and properly represent the plaintiff,” Trusty wrote in the suit, filed in United States District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Neither Trusty nor CNN’s attorneys immediately responded to requests for comment on Trusty’s move to withdraw from the Trump advisor position.

Lindsey Halligan, Trump’s remaining defamation attorney, referred CNBC to former president spokesperson Stephen Cheung, who said the libel lawsuit is “entering a new phase as more irrefutable facts are revealed.”

“We thank Mr. Trusty for his work on this case and wish him all the best,” Cheung said.

A week ago, Trusty and another attorney, John Rowley, tendered their resignation as counsel to Trump in the federal criminal case that just resulted in him being indicted on charges related to his post-presidential efforts to keep a trove of classified documents in his home. Mar-a-Lago.

“Now that the case has been filed in Miami, this is a logical moment for us to step aside and allow others to move the cases through to completion,” Trosti and Rowley said in that statement.

Four days later, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 charges including maintaining national defense records, concealment of documents, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The attorneys’ statement also indicated that they will no longer defend Trump in another ongoing federal criminal investigation into the events surrounding the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Both investigations were overseen by Jack Smith, Special Counsel to the US Department of Justice.

And it bears little resemblance to Trump’s civil defamation lawsuit against CNN, which was filed in October.

Trump, who has a long record of attacking the media and select journalists over coverage he doesn’t like, accused CNN of waging a “smear campaign” against him, including by comparing him to Adolf Hitler.

The lawsuit was filed based on CNN’s repeated invocation of the Big Lie, a term used to refer to a variety of false claims of election fraud promoted by Trump and his allies when they alleged that President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory was rigged.

The “big lie” is a direct reference to the tactic used by Adolf Hitler and appeared in Hitler’s book Mein Kampf,” asserted the complaint filed by Trump’s legal team, which at the time included Trusty.

CNN asked the court in November to dismiss the case, calling Trump’s allegations “indefensible and abhorrent to a free press and open political debate.”

The outlet noted that Trump’s lawsuit hinged on just five CNN pieces. She said none of them indicated that he “had the personality of Hitler”.

Trump’s complaint indicated that CNN was slandering him to undermine his potential candidacy in the upcoming presidential election. Trump launched his 2024 campaign the following month, and has consistently led the Republican primary field in opinion polls.

Trump is seeking $475 million in punitive damages and more than $75,000 in compensatory damages.


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