A high-profile Florida attorney has reached a deal for an astonishing $3 million advance to represent former President Donald Trump in the investigation over the documents seized at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Politico and The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Lawyer Chris Kise is being paid the massive sum in light of the “unprecedented nature” of the Justice Department probe, noted the Journal, as well as Trump’s “history of stiffing attorneys who represent him,” Politico said.
The money is reportedly coming from Trump’s key fundraising arm, the Save America political action committee.
The PAC itself could soon be in the market for a lawyer of its own. Amid a flurry of dozens of new subpoenas, the Justice Department appears to be targeting the PAC’s fundraising and spending, The New York Times reported Monday. The Jan. 6 House select committee has also been eyeing Trump’s fundraising campaigns, seeking to determine if his false claims about a “rigged” election misled donors into contributing money.
Neither Kise nor Save America PAC commented on the reported arrangement to either the Journal or Politico.
Kise is also committed to representing Trump in any litigation arising from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to Politico. He could eventually make even more money on those issues — and others.
Kise left the firm Foley & Lardner LLP, where he worked as a partner, to set up Chris Kise & Associates in order to take Trump as a client, Politico reported.
It’s unclear if he’ll take his millions in one lump sum, or if he’ll draw from the money in an account as he works, according to Politico. But the fund transfer has already occurred, according to both publications.
Kise is reportedly seeking a more “conciliatory tone” with the Justice Department in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, though he may have the wrong client for that. In his first appearance in court in the case early this month, Kise said: “We need, respectfully, to lower the temperature on both sides.”
Trump, meanwhile, has been vigorously bashing the FBI as “sleazy,” “corrupt,” a “criminal enterprise,” seditious and “abusive.”
Kise has won four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and is experienced dealing with Florida courts. He worked as Florida’s solicitor general and on the transition teams of Florida Republican Govs. Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis.
Several lawyers Trump’s team approached last month refused to represent the former president because they said he has a reputation for not following his attorneys’ advice and reneging on bills, the Journal reported.