Trump lawyer quits — and throws fellow Trump attorney under the bus in DOJ probe

Tim Parlatore says Boris Ephsteyn's meddling is hurting Trump's case against special counsel

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published May 22, 2023 10:32AM (EDT)

Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before his speech at CPAC on March 4, 2023 in National Harbor, Maryland.  (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before his speech at CPAC on March 4, 2023 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

One of former President Donald Trump's attorneys quit and quickly threw a fellow member of the legal team under the bus.

Tim Parlatore served as an attorney for Trump in the Justice Department's investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents and efforts to alter the results of the 2020 presidential election. Last August, the FBI raided Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in West Palm Beach, Florida, uncovering troves of material, including documents labeled as classified. Politico reported that the search "led not only to issues involving document retention by other political leaders, including President Joe Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence, but also sparked questions as to what, if anything, a former president can lawfully do in terms of retaining classified material."

Special counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the DOJ probes, will likely soon decide whether to charge Trump in either or both cases. 

Parlatore's resignation was announced Wednesday by CNN.

"It's personal, and it's got nothing to do with my belief in the strength of the case," he told Politico.

Speaking to CNN's Paula Reid, Parlatore blamed another member of the former president's legal team for his departure.

"The real reason is because there are certain individuals that made defending the president much harder than it needed to be," he said. "There is one individual who works for him, Boris Epshteyn, who had really done everything he could to try to block us, to prevent us from doing what we could to defend the president."

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

Parlatore stated that Epeshtyn "served as a kind of a filter" for sharing information with the ex-president and "attempted to interfere with" the legal team's attempts to search various Trump properties for documents.

"It's difficult enough fighting against DOJ and, in this case, special counsel," Parlatore continued. "But when you also have people within the tent that are also trying to undermine you, block you, and really make it so that I can't do what I know that I need to do as a lawyer, and when I am getting into fights like that, that's detracting from what is necessary to defend the client and ultimately not in the clients best interest, so I made the ultimate decision to withdraw."

A Trump spokesperson has refuted Paraltore's claims, saying, "Mr. Parlatore is no longer a member of the legal team. His statements regarding current members of the legal team are unfounded and categorically false."

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.

MORE FROM Gabriella Ferrigine

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Boris Epshteyn Donald Trump Jack Smith Mar-a-lago Timothy Parlatore