(Bloomberg) -- Todd Blanche, a former prosecutor who resigned from an elite law firm to defend Donald Trump against New York criminal charges, is now also involved in the former president’s defense in federal investigations, according to people familiar with the situation.
Blanche’s role expanded since he was hired in April after Trump’s indictment in New York, according to two people who requested anonymity to discuss the dynamics. He’s now also working with the attorneys managing Trump’s response to Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith’s inquiries into the handling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the people said.
A former supervisor in the Manhattan US attorney’s office, Blanche deepens the Justice Department expertise on Trump’s special counsel defense team and fills a spot left by the mid-May departure of attorney Tim Parlatore.
Parlatore has publicly cited a conflict with Trump adviser and legal counsel Boris Epshteyn as a driving factor behind his decision to leave; a Trump spokesperson at the time called Parlatore’s account “unfounded and categorically false.”
Blanche, who told colleagues he left a partnership at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP to represent Trump, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Read More: Trump Adds Ex-Manafort Lawyer Todd Blanche to His Defense Team
In addition to his work for Trump, Blanche also represented Trump’s former 2016 campaign manager Paul Manafort on state charges that were eventually dismissed. He also has represented Epshteyn, who approved of Trump bringing on Blanche for the New York case, according to the New York Times.
Epshteyn directed a request for comment to a Trump spokesman, who declined to comment.
When Blanche was first hired, he didn’t work directly with Trump’s mostly Washington-based special counsel defense team, according to a third person familiar with the situation. Last month, Blanche was copied on a letter that two lawyers on Trump’s special counsel team — James Trusty and John Rowley — sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking for a meeting. Members of Congress were also copied on the letter, which Trump shared online.
The other two lawyers representing Trump against state charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Susan Necheles and Joe Tacopina, weren’t similarly copied on the letter. Trump was indicted in New York in April in connection with hush-money payments allegedly made to an adult film actress.
Blanche’s involvement with the federal investigations comes as Smith’s team appears to be wrapping up the classified documents probe. The Justice Department hasn’t announced whether Smith has decided to pursue charges. Information has trickled out about Smith’s work — CNN reported this week that prosecutors obtained a recording of a July 2021 meeting where Trump acknowledged holding onto a classified Pentagon document. Trump attorney Trusty responded to the report in an interview with the network by denouncing “leak-based reporting.”
The 2020 election investigation remains active, with pending subpoenas and more witnesses scheduled to appear before a federal grand jury this summer.
Other members of Trump’s special counsel defense team also have Justice Department backgrounds — Trusty, Rowley, and Evan Corcoran served as federal prosecutors, and Trusty held a senior post in the Criminal Division, serving alongside Smith. Before going into private practice in 2014, Blanche spent more than a decade in the US attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York.
The defense team also includes Florida-based attorney Lindsey Halligan. Although the lawyers have often worked together across the classified documents and election probes, Corcoran earlier this year recused from the documents investigation given his grand jury appearances.
--With assistance from Patricia Hurtado.
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