Donald Trump, a former president, has hired Florida’s former top attorney to assist him in his legal struggle over the FBI raid on Trump’s Florida property, Mar-a-Lago, in early August.
According to people with knowledge of the hiring, Trump signed a contract with Chris Kise, a former Florida solicitor general who is an accomplished lawyer and astute political operative, to assist the former president in his legal disputes with an FBI raid on August 8. On Thursday, Kise is anticipated to make his first court appearance on behalf of Trump before U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to address the former president’s request for a special master.
Trump allegedly started talking to Kise soon after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago while searching for a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Kise will collaborate with Trump’s existing legal counsel Jim Trusty and Evan Corcoran on the FBI raid lawsuit.
Former Florida Senator George LeMieux told NBC, “Chris is a 360-degree lawyer: appellate, civil, criminal, state and federal – he can handle it all.” In 2003, when LeMieux was Charlie Crist’s chief of staff in Florida, Kise was chosen to be the state’s solicitor general.
Four successfully fought cases before the U.S. Supreme Court are the cherry on top of Kise’s professional career. His profile states that he has vast expertise in both state and federal courts and that he has successfully argued dozens of prior cases before the Florida Supreme Court.
Kise worked for the law firm Foley & Lardner before agreeing to represent Trump. Kise’s name was missing from the company’s website as of Tuesday morning.
According to Politico, Kise is a “fixture in Florida Republican politics.” He advised Charlie Crist, a former governor of Florida. Later, in 2010 and 2018, Kise worked as general counsel for the transition teams of former Florida Governor Rick Scott and Governor Ron DeSantis.
Andrew Gillum, a Democrat running for governor in 2018 and the former mayor of Tallahassee, received tickets to attend the Broadway production “Hamilton” from an undercover FBI agent, according to 2016 text conversations disclosed by Kise. The shocking revelation heightened ethical and corruption questions that already plagued Gillum’s mayoral office.
Two weeks before election day, Kise made the texts public. He has denied having any political motivations for doing so. He said he was acting in the best interests of Adam Corey, a Tallahassee lobbyist who was formerly regarded as a steadfast supporter of Andrew Gillum.
In the end, DeSantis defeated Gillum for governor by more than 30,000 votes, or less than 0.5 percentage points.