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Follow the Money

Some of the legal action is intertwined with money because, except for defendants with public defenders, lawyers cost money. Lots of it. The desperate ones might work for $300/hour, but good ones are going to demand $500/hour or more if they are partners in a prestigious firm. Caren Morrison said that every motion will cost at least $10,000 as a bare minimum, since the lawyer will have to spend time doing research to find the best argument and will probably want to check out the judge's track record on similar motions in the past. Cornell law professor Randy Zelin said: "I don't see anyone's fee less than $250,000-500,000, unless they strike a plea deal with prosecutors. In the more complicated cases it could be much more."

Not all the defendants have that kind of money lying around. Donald Trump can fleece the rubes into paying his lawyers, but few, if any, of the others can. Rudy Giuliani is said to be broke and he is in more trouble than anyone other than Trump. Trump will hold a fundraiser for him on Sept. 7 at his club in New Jersey in a desperate move to keep Giuliani from flipping simply for financial reasons. Trump will certainly lean on his big donors to pony up and keep Giuliani on his side.

The others are on their own and may quickly conclude that flipping will not only be cheaper, but also safer. Suppose you had a choice: (1) Fight the case, pay lawyers $500,000, and still have a substantial chance of getting 20 years as a guest of the state of Georgia or (2) make a deal, pay your lawyer, say, $20,000 to negotiate a plea, and get 1 year. For defendants who don't have the money and/or who have not found the Fountain of Youth (which is somewhere in Florida and not Georgia, at least according to Juan Ponce de León) the latter may look like the better option.

Of course, you could set up a crowd funding page somewhere. Fake elector Cathy Latham did just that. She wants to raise $300,000 for her defense. Last time we looked, she had $8,630 or 2.9% of what she needs. Although there have been only 100 donors so far, 2,010 people have hit the button to pray for her. We don't know if she has autopray enabled, though.

One defendant in the RICO case, Harrison Floyd, is in an awkward situation. He can't afford a lawyer but the public defender has refused to take him on as a client for undisclosed reasons. Sounds like a potential candidate for a plea deal to us. Floyd, incidentally, is the co-defendant that hasn't made bail yet.

Michael Caputo, who was just a witness in the probe of Russia's interference in the 2016 election, tweeted: "I spent $300K+ on lawyers in the Clinton Russia Hoax. I was just a witness. These 18 additional targets in the GA indictment are in for far more legal expenses. They'll lose their homes, pull their kids out of schools, delay medical care. If you laugh you're going to Hell." If Willis is smart, she will make Trump's codefendants an offer they can't refuse. Oh, no. Wait. That's what a Don does.

Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who knows a thing or two about flipping, on Saturday told MSNBC: "If any one of them ends up turning, it's destruction for the rest." We think that is an exaggeration, because not all the defendants have incriminating information on all the others. Giuliani probably does, but someone like Harrison Floyd probably doesn't. Nevertheless, Cohen's point is well taken. Some of the defendants probably know enough to sink some of the others and if they flip, it could be curtains for the others. Cohen specifically mentioned legal costs as a reason someone might go over to the other side. According to news reports, John Eastman, for example, is not wealthy, but he was a true insider and knows everything. Trump has to worry about him.

Cohen added that if Trump weren't such a skinflint, he would pay all the legal costs of all the defendants out of his own pocket (and pay the resulting gift tax) just to keep them quiet. It isn't like paying someone to keep his or her mouth shut is foreign to him (see: Daniels, Stormy). Then Cohen added: "He has not learned yet that three people you don't want to throw under the bus like that are your lawyer, your doctor, and your mechanic. Because one way or the other, you're going to go down the hill and there'll be no brakes." (V)

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