ATLANTA - Amid a deepening swirl of federal and state investigations, former President Donald Trump has hired a high-powered Atlanta lawyer to represent him in an inquiry into election interference in Georgia.
The lawyer, Drew Findling, has represented an array of rap stars including Cardi B, Gucci Mane and Migos, and is known by the hashtag #BillionDollarLawyer.
But he has not been a fan of Trump; in one 2018 post on Twitter, after Trump criticized LeBron James, Findling referred to Trump as "the racist architect of fraudulent Trump University." In 2017, after Trump fired the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara, Findling said on Twitter that it was "a sign of FEAR that he would aggressively investigate the stench hovering over this POTUS."
He has also called Trump's history of harsh comments about the five Black and Latino men who as teenagers were wrongly convicted of the brutal rape of a jogger in Central Park "racist, cruel, sick, unforgivable, and un-American!"
Findling, who has been an advocate of criminal justice reform and a past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In addition to becoming a sort of celebrity among celebrities for his vigorous defense of hip-hop artists - with multiple appearances in Instagram photos alongside A-list rappers, often sporting dark sunglasses - Findling has done criminal defense work for a number of high-profile political clients in the Atlanta area.
Among them was Mitzi Bickers, who once worked in the administration of former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, and who was convicted in March on nine federal corruption counts as part of a multimillion-dollar contracting and kickback scandal.
Another client, Victor Hill, is the sheriff of Clayton County, a suburban area south of Atlanta. Hill, an African American with a tough-on-crime reputation, has been indicted on numerous federal civil rights charges for the alleged mistreatment of detainees at the local jail and has been suspended from his position pending trial.
The investigation into postelection meddling is being led by Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, which encompasses much of Atlanta. To date, at least 17 people have been designated as targets who could face criminal charges. Trump is not among them, but evidence and testimony are still being taken in by a special grand jury, and Willis has said she is weighing a number of potential criminal charges, including racketeering and conspiracy.
In a hearing Tuesday, a state judge told lawyers for Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, that their client needed to travel to Atlanta to testify next week. And in a hearing in federal court here Wednesday, lawyers for Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina faced a skeptical reception from a judge on their efforts to quash a subpoena from Willis' office seeking the senator's testimony.
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