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Trump subtracts attorney who called him a ‘racist,’ adds celebrity lawyer with white collar defense focus just before Georgia surrender

Donald Trump, Steven Sadow

Donald Trump pictured at the first tee during the final round of LIV Golf Bedminster on August 13, 2023 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via AP Images), Steven Sadow (YouTube/T.I. screengrab)

Former President Donald Trump, just before his scheduled surrender later Thursday at the Fulton County jail in Georgia, swapped out a defense attorney who once called him a “racist” for one who says he’s “innocent” of heading a racketeering enterprise to overturn the 2020 election.

Steven Sadow, an Atlanta defense lawyer with a penchant for talking shop on YouTube, is taking over for Drew Findling in the Georgia matter, according to CNN’s Kristen Holmes and others.

“I have been retained to represent President Trump in the Fulton County, Georgia case,” Sadow said. “The President should never have been indicted. He is innocent of all the charges brought against him.”

Among Sadow’s listed areas of practice are white collar and celebrity defense.

Smith has represented high-profile clients, such as rappers Rick Ross and T.I., NFL players Ray Lewis and Isiah Crowell, Anna Nicole Smith’s onetime lawyer-turned-boyfriend Howard K. Stern, and star singer Usher.

Here he is taking with T.I. about whether or not to cooperate with the feds.

“If I don’t think my client’s got a chance of winning in a courtroom and the risk of going forward in a trial far, far exceeds my chances of being successful, I won’t tell him to take the risk,” Sadow said.

The legal team shakeup comes just hours before the former president is expected to report to the jail to face RICO, criminal conspiracy, false statements, and criminal solicitation charges in connection with efforts to overturn the 2020 election outcome in the Peach State.

The move didn’t necessarily score high marks from legal observers who held Findling in high regard.

Sadow does have recent RICO defense experience, however.

After Trump’s legal team reached an agreement on the terms of his surrender earlier this week, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee set Trump’s bond at $200,000 in total for the 13 counts.

Trump now faces 91 felony counts across the Georgia case, the Manhattan DA’s falsification of business records case, and special counsel Jack Smith’s willful retainment of classified documents and Jan. 6 prosecutions in Florida and Washington, D.C.).

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.