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as Georgia Grand jury investigates Donald Trump The former president’s team has turned to one of Atlanta’s most respected and influential lawyers for his performance in the aftermath of his 2020 election defeat.

Dwight Thomas has represented many high-profile defendants in the region in worrying and sensitive cases for over four decades. Former Attorney Clinton Rucker, who has handled major cases for the office for more than 25 years, said his consulting with the Trump team may indicate that Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis is serious to investigate.

“If you hired Dwight Thomas, you definitely meant it,” said Rucker, now a city court judge. “You absolutely believe that you have some exposure, and you want to make sure you have people skilled enough not only to check the issues, but you want someone who can ultimately engage and fight and win.”

Attorney Dwight Thomas speaks to reporters in this 2007 file photo
On October 19, 2007, attorney Dwight Thomas, center, and two colleagues speak to reporters outside federal court in Atlanta after a bond hearing for their client, rapper TI.

John Amis/Associated Press

A spokesman for Willis’ office confirmed that Willis has spoken to Thomas about the case and that prosecutors will only discuss the case with lawyers involved in the case. Yahoo News first reported Willis and Thomas’ conversation. Thomas declined to discuss his involvement in an email, citing grand jury confidentiality. A source with knowledge of Thomas’ involvement said his job was to “consult” the special grand jury and its governing law.

Trump’s representatives and lawyers did not respond to requests for comment. Trump has denied all allegations of wrongdoing in his conduct after the 2020 election.

Dozens of Trump allies and supporters have been subpoenaed by a special grand jury in recent also has hear testimony from participating state officials The infamous January 2, 2021 call The then-president told Georgia election officials, “I just want to find 11,780 votes” — the number needed to eliminate Biden’s lead.

Few defense attorneys have special grand jury experience like Thomas, Rooker said. Special grand juries are unique in that they focus on only one investigation and can take longer than a typical grand jury.Willis wrote on request special grand jury In January, it will have an “investigative focus commensurate with the complexity of the facts and circumstances involved”.

Thomas’ current and former clients include many celebrities and politicians. He represented rapper TI in a weapons case and is currently listed as a lawyer for Alfred Megbuluba, 32, who has been charged with murder for allegedly pushing a woman out of a moving Lamborghini. Another lawyer in the case told local media that Megbuluba would plead not guilty. Thomas recently defended Atlanta suburban Mayor Jason Lary, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges over a scheme to steal more than $900,000 in COVID-19 relief funds.

Closer to home for Trump, Thomas represented then-Democratic local politician Vernon Jones on multiple matters. Jones drew national attention when he backed Trump for re-election in 2020. Jones later subordinated his party to the Republican Party.

Campaign finance records show Thomas donating mostly to Democrats, including $2,000 to Democrats in 2021 Senator Raphael Warnock, who is facing a tough re-election bid against Trump-backed challenger Herschel Walker. But Georgia attorney Jason Sheffield said it was no surprise that Thomas would take on a prominent Republican client.

“He checks any partisan view at the door of the courthouse. And he’s very hardworking. A careful, fair, great negotiator. Thorough, but I think most importantly, he’s just advocating for the fair application of the law,” Sheffield said of Emory. Adjunct professor at the University School of Law, who worked in Thomas’s office.

Sheffield said he recently called Thomas for advice before taking on a high-profile and controversial client.Travis McMichael is one of them Three men convicted of murder In the racist killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man was jogging when he was chased and shot dead by three white men in a pickup truck.

“Before taking this case, I called Dwight and I said, ‘What do you think? This is a very worrying case and people are outraged about it.’ He said, ‘If you can’t take this case, You just can’t take any cases,'” Sheffield said.

Sheffield said the advice fits into a mantra Thomas asked the lawyers he mentored to remember: “If you can’t do it for one person, you can’t do it for anyone else.”

That sentiment was echoed by another former partner at his firm, Michael Holmes.

“He was my mentor, father figure and friend, and a fantastic lawyer,” Holmes said.

Thomas, 71, has mentored numerous attorneys, and many of his disciples are current or former Fulton County prosecutors, Sheffield and Luck said.

“Prosecutors here have learned the practice of criminal law through Dwight’s office, I can’t count,” Sheffield said.

Luke recalls learning from Thomas, even when against him.

“He’s going to grab your technical details in law, and he’s going to do it with a smile on his face. When it’s all over, he’s going to say, ‘Hey, let me take you to lunch,'” Luck said.

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