Ex-prosecutor: Former Trump lawyer may be “waving red flag” at DOJ that he wants to “testify”

Ex-Trump lawyer Tim Parlatore is effectively pointing the finger at Trump attorney Boris Ephsteyn, expert says

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published May 22, 2023 2:27PM (EDT)

Donald Trump (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
Donald Trump (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

A former Trump attorney's media appearance may be a sign that he is poised to cooperate with the Justice Department, according to former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance.

Vance in a Monday appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" discussed newly-resigned lawyer Timothy Parlatore's decision to depart from Trump's legal team over infighting. Parlatore was part of Trump's team of lawyers regarding the DOJ's Mar-a-Lago and 2020 presidential election probes. 

Speaking to CNN on Saturday, Parlatore shared that "the real reason" he left is  "is because there are certain individuals that made defending the president much harder than it needed to be," singling out Boris Epshteyn, who Parlatore said "served as a kind of a filter" for sharing information with the former president.

The New York Times reported that Epshteyn often left "the former president's legal team at a disadvantage in dealing with the Justice Department, which is scrutinizing Mr. Trump's handling of classified documents after leaving office and his efforts to remain in office after losing the 2020 election."

"It's almost as though there's a turf war going on here among the lawyers," Vance said. "You know, often, when you see a lawyer leave a legal team that might signify that there's a plea deal in the works or that there's some legal reason behind the change. Here, it looks like a pure turf battle. But when Paraltore goes out and reveals this sort of information, it's almost as though he's pointing a finger at Boris Epshteyn and including him in the group of people involved in obstructing justice in this situation."

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"We don't usually see lawyers come out and make statements like this after they leave a legal team. You know, it's CYA, it's maybe waving a red flag at the Justice Department and saying he would like to come back and testify in a grand jury. I think that would make it the third time for him," she continued.

"You know, Trump's lawyers don't seem to believe that when people say 'everything Trump touches dies,' that it includes the lawyers. But clearly, it does. Because they've put themselves at risk in a number of different ways," she added. "And so, we see lawyers leave and have to worry about whether they're next. I don't think I've ever seen a situation where so many lawyers, Boris Epshteyn, John Eastman, are all invoked as part of possible criminal activity."

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Boris Epshteyn Donald Trump Joyce Vance Mar-a-lago Timothy Parlatore