Donald Trump Lawyer Accused of 'Serious Ethical Violation,' Says Attorney

Trump's trial progresses amid legal advice controversy.

by Nouman Rasool
Donald Trump Lawyer Accused of 'Serious Ethical Violation,' Says Attorney
© Mark Peterson - Pool/Getty Images

In the midst of Donald Trump's ongoing hush money trial, a new controversy has emerged involving his lawyer, Todd Blanche. At a recent press conference, Blanche appeared to affirm Trump's assertion that a gag order prohibited him from testifying, a moment that has sparked allegations of a potential ethical misstep.

Ron Filipkowski, a vocal critic of Trump and the editor-in-chief of the liberal media site Meidas Touch, took to X (formerly Twitter) to suggest that Judge Juan Merchan should investigate whether Blanche's advice was legally sound.

Trump, who has consistently maintained his innocence in the face of 34 charges of falsifying business records related to alleged payments to suppress affairs, addressed the media outside the courthouse. Although it remains unclear if Blanche confirmed Trump's interpretation of the gag order or merely acknowledged his understanding, the incident has raised questions about the advice given.

Judge Clarifies Rights

Judge Merchan later clarified directly to Trump in court that the gag order did not strip him of his right to testify, emphasizing that the 5th Amendment also protects a defendant's right to remain silent.

Filipkowski argued that this nod from Blanche could be seen as misleading legal advice concerning Trump's constitutional rights. Filipkowski's commentary extended to social media, where he accused Blanche of a "serious ethical violation." This statement has fueled an ongoing debate about the responsibilities and conduct of lawyers in high-profile cases.

Newsweek has reached out to both Blanche and Trump's attorney, Chris Kise, for comments. Legal experts, however, offer a nuanced view. Greg Germain, a law professor at Syracuse University, argues that while public statements by lawyers about legal matters can be controversial, they do not typically subject attorneys to formal sanctions unless made directly in court proceedings.

He suggests that Blanche's public comments, even if misinterpreted, might not meet the threshold for judicial rebuke. Amidst this legal entanglement, Trump continues to face scrutiny both inside and outside the courtroom. Recently, Judge Merchan imposed a $9,000 fine on Trump for multiple violations of the gag order, and prosecutors have noted additional infractions.

As the trial progresses, the intertwining of legal strategy and public statements continues to underscore the complex dynamics at play in this unprecedented case.

Donald Trump