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What to know about Trump’s NY trial lawyers, Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles

When Donald Trump appears for his first criminal trial on Monday, he will be flanked by two veteran New York attorneys: Todd Blanche and Susan Necheles.

Over the past year, the former president has shed some of the less experienced lawyers who had attached themselves to his politics and elevated his conspiracy theories, with lawyers like Blanche and Necheles taking their place as he fights charges in four criminal cases.

People familiar with their work describe them as reputable lawyers who have the experience to effectively defend Trump in court — if their famously combative and fickle client allows them to do their jobs.

Blanche left New York’s oldest law firm, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, to start his own firm and represent Trump. In addition to the New York trial, in which Trump is accused of falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment, Blanche is also Trump’s lawyer in his two federal criminal cases, in Florida and D.C.

He has hired more than a half-dozen attorneys and staffers to work on the various cases.

A graduate of American University and Brooklyn Law School, Blanche previously worked at the prestigious federal prosecutor’s office in Manhattan. He has more experience as a prosecutor than a defense attorney, with few blockbuster trials as a defense attorney to his name. As a federal prosecutor, he worked alongside Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is now the top prosecutor in the state case against Trump.

Blanche first caught Trump’s attention when he helped Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, avoid state charges of mortgage fraud after Manafort was convicted at trial on similar federal counts. Blanche also represented Trump aide Boris Epshteyn when Epshteyn was questioned in a Justice Department investigation involving the former president.

Trump enlisted Blanche to help him find a lawyer to defend him in the New York criminal case. Blanche contacted former colleagues from the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, a person familiar with the situation told The Washington Post recently. But their law firms said no, a nod to the fact that the nation’s most prominent white-collar practices have no interest in taking on such a controversial and combative client as Trump.

So Blanche took on the job himself.

Necheles, who attended University of Rochester and Yale Law School, has more experience than Blanche as a defense attorney in Manhattan. She has her own law firm and had previously defended the former president’s business, the Trump Organization, in a New York state tax fraud case. She also has represented politicians, real estate developers and mobster “Benny Eggs.”

Necheles has sat alongside Blanche and their client at the defense table during the pretrial proceedings in the New York hush money trial, but has not yet argued much in front of New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan.

Instead, it has been Blanche up on his feet in Merchan’s courtroom, deploying every legal strategy to get the trial delayed. Merchan has grown increasingly frustrated with these efforts and has expressed his displeasure with Blanche.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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