ATLANTA — Amid a deepening swirl of federal and state investigations, former President Donald Trump has hired a prominent Atlanta lawyer to represent him in a criminal inquiry into election interference in Georgia.
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 is also well regarded for a range of criminal defense work that he has done in Georgia, and his hiring underscores the seriousness of the investigation — as well as the potential legal jeopardy for Trump.
The investigation is being led by Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, which encompasses much of Atlanta. At least 17 people have been designated as targets who could face criminal charges. Trump is not among them, but a special grand jury is continuing to consider evidence and testimony, with several top Trump advisers still to appear. Willis has said that she is weighing a number of potential criminal charges, including racketeering and conspiracy.
Findling brings decades of trial experience ranging from murder cases to local political corruption scandals. But in the past, he has been openly critical of the former president.
In one 2018 post on Twitter, 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 the firing was “a sign of FEAR that he would aggressively investigate the stench hovering over this POTUS.”
Findling explained his decision to take on Trump by referring to John Adams, who took the unpopular position of representing British troops after the Boston Massacre.
“I do not believe that we choose our client or clients based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, political belief or the substantive issues involved in the crime,” he said. “We have our personal lives and we have our personal politics, and I don’t apologize for my personal politics.”
Esther Panitch, a veteran Atlanta-area criminal defense lawyer, has known Findling for years. She called him “brilliant.”
“That being said, he needs a client who will listen to him,” she said, adding: “You can’t hold Drew responsible if his client refuses to take his advice. And Trump is the kind of client that lawyers fear. Because he can’t be controlled.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.