Former President Donald Trump’s political action committee, Save America, paid nearly $1 million to civil and criminal defense attorneys in July alone as investigations into him and the Trump Organization heated up, a new Federal Elections Commission filing by the PAC reveals.
And Trump’s legal bills could rise even more this month and into the future on the heels of an FBI raid of his residence at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, as part of a criminal investigation into his removal of presidential documents from the White House when he left office in January 2021.
Trump also faces a criminal probe in Georgia, where a special grand jury is obtaining testimony and evidence related to efforts by him and his allies to overturn that state’s 2020 election win by President Joe Biden.
Trump’s Save America political action committee has become the former president’s leading PAC, keeping White House veterans such as Dan Scavino and Lynne Patton on the payroll.
Save America, which has more than $99 million on hand according to the FEC filing, has been asking donors for money it says will be used to defend conservative values and battle Biden.
That money is also being used to pay Trump’s legal bills, which is allowed under the lenient rules governing the use of PAC funds.
A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the disbursements.
The FEC filing this weekend shows that the PAC paid 12 different law firms and companies $963,682 for legal services in July.
That is more than $400,000 in legal expenditures for the PAC in June, and almost $200,000 more than what the organization spent on such services in April.
One of those law firms, Habba Madaio & Associates, received more than $486,000 in payments from the PAC in July, according to the filing.
Alina Habba, a partner in that small New Jersey firm, is the lead attorney representing the Trump Organization in a civil investigation by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.
James is probing allegations that the Trump Organization improperly manipulated the stated valuations of various real estate assets to obtain financial benefits, such as more favorable loan and insurance terms, and tax breaks.
Trump earlier this month invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 440 times as he refused to answer questions from James’ lawyers at a court-mandated deposition as part of that investigation. Two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, were deposed by James’ team in July.
Save America paid a veteran Trump lawyer, the criminal defense attorney Alan Futerfas, $184,743 in July, according to the FEC filing.
Futerfas has represented Donald Jr. and Ivanka in James’ probe. He also represents the Trump Organization in its criminal prosecution by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
The company, which has denied any wrongdoing, is set in that case to go on trial this fall on charges related to its alleged 15-year scheme to avoid the payment of taxes on compensation for top officials in the Trump Organization.
Last Thursday, the company’s former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, pleaded guilty to multiple tax fraud charges in the case and agreed to testify against the Trump Organization at trial. Weisselberg will serve five months in jail and pay more than $2 million in taxes as part of that plea deal.
Save America’s third-highest legal-related payment last month was $100,000 to Drew Findling, an Atlanta criminal defense attorney who is best known for representing hip-hop artists, including Cardi B and Faith Evans. Findling also once served as president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Findling, who once called Trump “racist” in a Twitter post, was hired to represent the ex-president for the criminal probe by Fulton County DA Fani Willis into efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.
Among other actions, Willis is eyeing a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top election official. In that call, Trump urged Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” so that Biden’s victory could be reversed.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in Georgia, and called Willis’s probe, likely those of James and the Manhattan DA, a “witch hunt.”
Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who led the efforts to overturn Biden’s victory, has been named a target of Wallis’ investigation.
Giuliani last Wednesday appeared for more than six hours before the special grand jury in Atlanta that is collecting testimony behind closed doors in that probe.