"Gaetz is personally represented by Marc Mukasey, who has defended the Trump Organization in several high-profile disputes, as well as Isabelle Kirshner, a partner at Clayman & Rosenberg LLP. Kirshner is a top Manhattan criminal defense attorney who also represented former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman after multiple women accused him of physical assault.
Separately, the Gaetz campaign—Friends of Matt Gaetz—also looked north when in June it retained New York-based trial lawyer Marc Fernich. Fernich’s client list includes child sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and convicted sex trafficker Keith Raniere, who led the NXIVM cult. While Fernich is familiar with sex crimes cases, he does not have experience with campaign finance law." (our emphasis)
It seems that Gaetz and his friends have assembled a legal team that's familiar with representing the biggest criminal dirtbags, which seems altogether appropriate. The bottom line is that it's an indication of how dangerous he thinks the charges are against him, and how he'll need more legal firepower than what's available in his district. Attorneys and former prosecutors believe that Gaetz will employ the "scorched earth strategy" of a combative trial rather than plea bargain:
“'The fact he’s hiring trial lawyers would suggest that they are preparing for a trial, not a negotiation. But it’s not unusual for a trial lawyer to go above a prosecutor into the DOJ to make their plea on behalf of their client,' [former Federal prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks] said. 'That said, I can’t think of any time that happened to me in my experience, where a decision not to indict was made because of a meeting.'”
Gaetz is the entitled son of a wealthy former health care provider CEO and Florida politician whose previous scrapes with the law include 16 speeding tickets and a 2008 arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. He's used to having his family wealth and political connections get him out of legal problems, and he's counting on it working again this time.
(photo: Tom Williams / AP)