A political group that backs Donald Trump spent more than $40 million in legal costs in the first half of 2023 to defend the former president, his advisers and others, sources familiar with a filing detailing the charges confirmed to ABC News .
This amount spent by the executive PAC of Save America, Trump’s main fundraising arm, was first reported by The Washington Post.
The financial file should be published on Monday.
The mounting costs come as Trump faces mounting legal issues, including a superseding indictment handed over by a federal grand jury via Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s alleged improper retention of classified documents. after leaving office.
The replacement indictment, released last week, accuses Trump and two others — Carlos De Oliveira, maintenance manager of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, and Trump’s aide Walt Nauta — of two counts of obstruction based on allegations that the defendants attempted to suppress surveillance video footage at Mar-a-Lago in the summer of 2022.
Trump previously faced a sweeping 37-count federal indictment to which he pleaded not guilty. Nauta, who was also previously charged, also pleaded not guilty. None of them have yet pleaded the new charges.
De Oliveira is due in court on Monday.
Trump is facing a 34-count indictment separately in New York State Court in Manhattan related to the hidden money paid to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the election of 2016. He pleaded not guilty in this case.
He is also the target of Smith’s investigation into the events around January 6 and his efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat.
He denied wrongdoing and repeatedly claimed he was being politically persecuted. At a campaign stop in Erie, Pennsylvania on Saturday, he said, “These are ridiculous indictments and all they do is hope for massive interference in the election.”
Trump and his allies have consistently pushed supporters to donate to Save America, often using false claims about the 2020 election and soliciting donations to rebuke the former president’s multiple investigations, his business dealings and his actions on 6 January.
The PAC leadership has in the past reported raising tens of millions of dollars and helping cover legal costs for Trump or his allies.
In a statement, a Trump campaign spokesperson argued that the payments were necessary.
“The Armed Department of Justice continued to pursue innocent Americans because they worked for President Trump and they know they have no legitimate cases,” the spokesperson said. “In order to fight these heinous actions of Joe Biden’s cronies and to protect these innocent people from financial ruin and prevent their lives from being completely destroyed, PAC leaders have contributed their legal fees to ensure that ‘they are represented against unlawful harassment.’
Smith, the independent prosecutor investigating Trump, defended his work.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is Trump’s most popular challenger in the Republican primary despite trailing notably in early polls, criticized PAC spending on Trump’s bills rather than Democrats.
“Trump has spent over $60 million this year on two things: falsely attacking Ron DeSantis and paying his own legal fees, not a dime to defeat Joe Biden,” DeSantis campaign spokesman Andrew Romero said. in a press release. “Governor DeSantis’ sole purpose, by contrast, has been to campaign for the future of this country, defeat Biden, and reverse America’s decline.”
In response, Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said, in part, “Only hopeless idiots and non-American morons would take the position the DeSantis team took.”
The war of words continued Sunday afternoon as DeSantis told ABC News in New Hampshire, pushing back against Trump, “If he emptied the swamp like he promised, you know, he probably wouldn’t. in the mess he’s in right now.”
ABC News’ Hannah Demissie, Lalee Ibssa, Soo Rin Kim and Will McDuffie contributed to this report.
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