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Trump Campaign Attorney, Telling Judge His Services Were Used to ‘Perpetrate a Crime,’ Moves to Withdraw as Counsel


WASHINGTON, DC - July 24: President Donald Trump speaks as he presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Olympic track and field athlete and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Ryun in the Blue Room of the White House on July 24, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Ryun, a former Kansas congressman, was the first high school runner to run a mile in under four minutes. He competed in three Olympic Games and won a silver medal in 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

A Trump campaign lawyer told a federal judge that he can no longer represent the president in a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s election results, saying his legal work was used by President Donald Trump to criminally incite Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Attorney Jerome M. Marcus on Thursday filed a Motion for Leave to Withdraw as Counsel in the Trump campaign’s action against the Philadelphia County Board of Elections.

Marcus cited to § 1.16(b)(3) and (4) of the Pennsylvania’s Rules of Professional Conduct, informing U.S. District Judge Paul Diamond that his client—the president’s campaign—had “used the lawyer’s services to perpetrate a crime” and that “the client insists upon taking action that the lawyer considers repugnant and with which the lawyer has a fundamental disagreement.”

Judge Diamond ordered the Trump campaign to respond to the motion within 14 days.

In a statement to Law&Crime, Marcus said the impetus for this withdrawal was President Trump’s role in inciting his supporters to “violence” at the Capitol on Wednesday:

Any and all peaceful protest and any well-founded legal challenge against potential election improprieties are not only appropriate but the right thing to do. The case I filed on behalf of the Trump Campaign was factually based, because in Philadelphia the Trump campaign was not given equal access to observe the counting of absentee ballots.  That was the issue on which I approached the court and it’s why the case I filed resulted in a court-approved agreement on such access.

But I believe that the filing of that and other cases was used by President Trump yesterday to incite people to violence. I refer specifically to his urging people to come to Washington for a “wild” protest.

I want absolutely no part of that. Therefore I have asked the court to allow me to withdraw as counsel.

This was the tweet Marcus was referring to, in which Trump told supporters to come to a protest that would be” wild.”

As previously reported by Law&Crime, Marcus made headlines in November when he appeared before Judge Diamond and argued that the Trump campaign’s election observers were prohibited from observing ballot-counting—an assertion that wasn’t actually true. In fact, soon thereafter Marcus himself confirmed that Trump’s observers were, in fact, allowed access to the ballot counting.

Asked if there were any designated observers from the campaign in the observation room, Marcus responded: “There’s a non-zero number of people in the room.”

“I’m sorry, then what’s your problem?” Judge Diamond said in frustration after Trump’s team eventually conceded the overarching point of the lawsuit.

Ultimately, the Trump campaign and the Biden campaign reached an agreement allowing for a fixed number of observers from each side to watch the count unfold at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

See Marcus’s motion below:

Jerome Marcus Withdrawal Motion by Law&Crime on Scribd

[image via Samuel Corum/Pool/Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.