These Insiders Know What Awaits Trump Lawyer Todd Blanche if He Loses

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

The one man perhaps even more anxious for a verdict in the Trump hush-money trial than Donald Trump himself is Todd Blanche.

Trump has already reportedly expressed his frustration with Blanche, his latest defense attorney, and if he loses, Trump’s modus operandi is to go on the offensive. That’s because there are two types of people in Donald Trump’s personal orbit: those who have been publicly trashed by the former president, and those who will be.

“There is no public client quite like Mr. Trump,” former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis told The Daily Beast. “While every person deserves competent counsel, that counsel also deserves loyalty from their client. Loyalty goes one way with Trump. The problem with the current MAGA base is that they will take whatever position Trump tells them to.”

The twice-impeached ex-commander-in-chief has openly lambasted, to name but a few, his own national security adviser, John Bolton (“one of the dumbest people in Washington”); his own Joint Chiefs of Staff chair, Gen. Mark Milley (“a Woke train wreck”); his own attorney general, William Barr (“a coward who didn’t do his job”); his own UN ambassador, Nikki Haley (“birdbrain”); his own secretary of state, Rex Tillerson (“lazy as hell”), campaign adviser Steve Bannon (“Sloppy Steve”), and his own vice-president, Mike Pence (“wimp,” “traitor,” “not a very good person”).

Trump has hurled insults at judges and at least one state attorney general. He has also not been kind to the various lawyers he has used up and discarded, calling, for example, his onetime personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen a “bad lawyer and fraudster” after Cohen turned on him in 2019. Last month, Trump began badmouthing Blanche, a former federal prosecutor and his lead defense attorney trying to help him beat back 34 felony counts related to a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels (“Horseface”), according to sources who spoke to The New York Times. Trump has reportedly bellyached that Blanche isn’t sufficiently deferential to his strategic ideas, and wanted to see Blanche be more aggressive in attacking witnesses.

Closing arguments began on Tuesday; a verdict is expected as early as this week. But what will become of Blanche if Trump is found guilty?

A photo of Todd Blanche in Manhattan Criminal Court with Donald Trump during the former president’s criminal hush money trial.

Todd Blanche (right) in Manhattan Criminal Court with Donald Trump during the former president’s criminal hush money trial.

Mark Peterson-Pool/Getty Images

To Ellis, who in October pleaded guilty to a felony charge of aiding and abetting false statements in service of Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the presidential 2020 election, the outcome is highly predictable.

“If Trump decides to publicly trash or blame Todd Blanche and the other attorneys, I’d bet that MAGA immediately brands them ‘the worst lawyers ever’ …instead of recognizing that lawyers can only do as much as they can with the situation—and client—they have,” she said. “From what I have seen, the defense team has done the best they could. Trump frankly is lucky he can even get anyone competent to agree to represent him at this point and I think he would be wise not to trash his lawyers.”

Former White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who represented Trump during the Mueller investigation, has been on the receiving end of Trump’s wrath. After Cobb said last year that Trump’s defense was weak in the ongoing federal case against him for purloining classified documents when he left the Oval Office and refusing to return them, Trump took to his Twitter clone, Truth Social, to denigrate him.

“Ty Cobb is a disgruntled former Lawyer, who represented me long ago, and knows absolutely nothing about the Boxes Hoax being perpetrated upon me,” Trump posted in response. “…His words are angry, nasty, and libelous, only because I did not continue using him (and paying him), and for good reason.”

A photo of Jenna Ellis with Rudy Giuliani in 2020.

Jenna Ellis with Rudy Giuliani in 2020.

Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

For his part, Cobb doesn’t envision any scenario under which Trump beats the hush money charges.

“The chance of an acquittal is zero to none,” Cobb told The Daily Beast, adding that the odds of a hung jury are “real,” but “not likely.”

However, whether or not Blanche remains on Trump’s legal team is up in the air, he said.

“Who knows, in terms of how Trump will treat his lawyers,” Cobb continued, noting that Manhattan defense attorney Joe Tacopina, who represented Trump in his unsuccessful libel case against writer E. Jean Carroll, withdrew from the hush-money case earlier this year, saying he had to “follow my compass.”

However, attorney Alina Habba, who replaced Tacopina on the Carroll case and proceeded to lose Trump $83 million, “is still on the payroll. So, you don’t really know with him. Now, Todd’s not as attractive as Alina, so…”

Cobb described Blanche as “a cut above, talent-wise and experience-wise, than most of the lawyers in the Trump stable—not all, but many of them, certainly Habba—and I would suspect him to remain on the team.”

“I think Blanche stays on the team,” Cobb went on. “He should stay on the team. Although he was a little less comfortable in court than I expected. I saw a lot of reporting [on Tuesday] that he seemed a little nervous and not necessarily as confident, at least in their assessment… But he’s got the skill set and the experience to do this well.”

A photo of former Trump attorney Ty Cobb.

Former Trump attorney Ty Cobb.

Jerry Cleveland/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Blanche, who used to work as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, was well respected by his peers there, according to Cobb, citing personal relationships with several of Blanche’s former coworkers. (Blanche did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Tuesday.)

“It’d be a real mistake to take Blanche off the team,” Cobb said. “On the other hand, [Trump] has gone through some excellent lawyers.”

A third former member of Trump’s orbit, who asked that their name not be used so as to avoid taking additional public flak from the ex-president, predicts Blanche will quickly become “a target” if Trump loses the case.

“He turns on everyone,” the source told The Daily Beast.

Many of the lawyers who have become overly involved with Trump go on to face criminal charges of their own, are sued, or eventually disbarred, according to the source. They said they believe Blanche “crossed that rubicon—he put all his eggs into [Trump’s] basket, and that’s not a healthy basket, because the eggs eventually go rotten… Rudy Giuliani was his best friend; he turned his back on him in two seconds. He’s disbarred, he’s twice-indicted, he’s bankrupt, he’s a laughing stock. He’s got nothing left.”

If Trump would do this to Giuliani, the source continued, “he’ll do it to anybody.”

“This guy is kryptonite,” they said. “He really is. You know you’re gonna take shrapnel. But then you still get abandoned.”

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