Another white collar lawyer has turned down the opportunity to represent President Donald Trump, citing an unidentified conflict, as the President struggles to add to the legal team representing him in the special counsel investigation.
People close to Trump contacted New York attorney Steven Molo, a former prosecutor who specializes in white collar defense and court room litigation, in recent weeks following the departure of attorney John Dowd from Trump’s personal legal team.
Molo is only the latest attorney to receive an invitation to help Trump during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 campaign and any possible dealings with Russia. Other lawyers who declined to join Trump’s team include former US Solicitor General Ted Olson; Emmet Flood, who’s worked for multiple presidents; Robert Bennett, Bill Clinton’s attorney in the Paula Jones litigation; and Bob Giuffra, of Sullivan & Cromwell.
Molo has a depth of courtroom experience, which could suggest the kind of skills Trump’s legal team is seeking as it prepares to decide whether the President will be interviewed by Mueller. The approach to Molo followed the March announcement that attorneys Joseph di Genova and Victoria Toensing would not join the Trump team because of conflicts.
Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow declined to comment.
Molo also said conflicts played a role in his decision to turn down the offer to represent the President, a client that some lawyers have said is too difficult to manage. Trump’s lawyers are still having trouble finding attorneys to join their team.
“I regret a current conflict related to the investigation prevents me from representing the President at this time,” Molo told CNN.
Despite his experience, Molo was an unusual choice. He went head to head with Trump in 2008 when the then-real estate developer sued Deutsche Bank to try to get out of paying $40 million of a construction loan Trump personally guaranteed.
Molo, representing the German lender, quoted Trump’s own boastful words as part of the bank’s defense, including a quote from one book Trump authored: “I turned it on the banks and let them accept some of the blame. I figured it was the bank’s problem not mine.”
An out-of-court settlement was reached.