John Bresnahan of Politico reports today:
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who faces an ethics trial next month, has parted ways with his lead defense attorneys in the case, according to several sources familiar with the matter.
It is unclear what, if any, impact this will have on the Rangel trial, which is scheduled to begin Nov. 15. It is also not clear whether Rangel decided to get rid of his attorneys or if they left of their own volition.
Whatever the case, Rangel’s lawyers were not underpaid. During his August 10 House floor speech, when he wasn’t criticizing NLPC, Rangel complained that he “paid close to two million dollars” to his legal team.
This is not the first time Rangel has parted company with lawyers assisting him on his ethics case. Two years ago, after NLPC exposed Rangel’s failure to disclose, or pay taxes on, income from his Dominican Republic beach house, Rangel hired Democratic fix-it man Lanny Davis. Davis collected six-figure fees but the arrangement didn’t last long.
Davis probably advised Rangel to get out all the facts and get them out fast, advice Rangel no doubt did not like. The most-recent crop of lawyers may have been more amenable to Rangel’s strategy of stonewall, as it allowed them to slowly but surely drain Rangel’s campaign fund.
Rangel has only been able to fight on because he is paying his lawyers with campaign funds gathered while he is still Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Since his resignation on March 3, the special interest spigot has been shut off. Now maybe Charlie is running out of money and he will just represent himself. This should be fun to watch.
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