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POLITICS

Who is Chris Kise, Donald Trump’s lawyer in the civil fraud trial in New York?

Chris Kise, the former Solicitor General of Florida and member of Donald Trump’s legal team... A look at the lawyer’s background.

Update:
Chris Kise, the former Solicitor General of Florida and member of Donald Trump's legal team... A look at the lawyer's background.
BRENDAN MCDERMIDREUTERS

With the number of legal battles former president Donald Trump is engulfed in, his legal team has plenty of work on their hands. One of the lawyers representing Trump is Christopher Kise, a Republican who served as the second Solicitor General of Florida from 2003 to 2007 under then-Governor Jeb Bush. However, his party affiliation has not stopped him from representing Democratic politicians, among them Andrew Gillum who narrowly lost to Ron DeSantis in the 2018 Florida Gubernatorial race. The Florida lawyer has also argued cases in front of the US Supreme Court.

Kise joined Trump’s legal team earlier this year and on Monday, 2 October appeared in court in New York City as a part of the team providing his defense in the civil suit relating to a financial fraud case brought by Letitia James, New York’s Attorney General.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives at a Manhattan courthouse, for the trial of himself, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, in New York City, U.S., October 2, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
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Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives at a Manhattan courthouse, for the trial of himself, his adult sons, the Trump Organization and others in a civil fraud case brought by state Attorney General Letitia James, in New York City, U.S., October 2, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew KellyANDREW KELLYREUTERS

The Florida lawyer’s website states that he and his associates specialize in appellate law, complex litigation, and white-collar defense, giving him the necessary experience and credentials to represent Donald Trump. With more than thirty years of experience, Kise was one of a handful of high-profile lawyers who were willing to take on the former president as a client. According to Forbes, many others passed on the opportunity over fears of what taking on such a politized client could mean for their careers.

A Florida native, Kise earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Miami, going on to earn his JD from the Florida State University College of Law.

Challenges for Donald Trump in putting together a legal team

There are two primary challenges Donald Trump has faced in putting together a legal team. The first relates to the diverse jurisdictions in which indictments have been levied against the former president. At least one member of the legal team must have adequate credentials to practice law in those courts. Additionally, the indictments contain a wide array of charges and the team must be comprised of lawyers with expertise in constructing defenses that match the charges.