After participating in a phone call that taped Donald Trump to pressure Georgia election officials to commit what electoral law experts have also identified under the legal definition of electoral fraud, Cleta Mitchell is identified as Foley & Lardner partner disappeared.
The New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt forwarded the Foley & Lardner statement a few moments ago.
Cleta Mitchell has stepped down from @FoleyandLardner. The company said in a statement, “Cleta Mitchell has informed management of its decision to resign from Foley & Lardner with immediate effect.” https://t.co/2peHwUTjOi
– Michael S. Schmidt (@nytmike) January 5, 2021
The parties apparently never bothered to establish that the call was confidential, which resulted in a bombshell when the Washington Post and Atlanta Journal Constitution released the audio and transcript.
Although Mitchell stepped down, there is enough reason to believe that this was less than a unilateral decision. Mitchell’s appearance on the call clearly shocked Foley & Lardner, who were quick to announce that the company itself was not acting as Donald Trump’s agent, despite Mitchell’s rhetoric on the call discussing reviewing evidence in the case and explaining allegations that “we” made in Trump’s files question the election results. As of yesterday, Foley & Lardner said they were concerned and were investigating Mitchell’s private involvement in the case. Foley & Lardner had cause for concern, given that attorneys in law firms cannot easily practice side appearances without answering a myriad of ethical and insurance questions.
With some customers already expressing a desire to end their relationships with the company and outside groups preparing to put pressure on others, the company has now freed itself from a possible burden on its parent business. This is the kind of move companies like Jones Day haven’t taken. Instead, they prefer to withdraw from certain published matters while preserving the ability to continue future work to suppress voters, a practice they have known to have followed for years.
The only remaining question is the identity of the third attorney on the now infamous call. The transcript identifies Cleta Mitchell, Georgia attorney Kurt Hilbert, and someone referred to only as “Alex”. We received some anonymous tips suggesting this attorney is another of Biglaw’s attorneys and contacted the law firm that may have been affected but were unable to confirm this. If you know who this clever lawyer is, please let us know.
Earlier: Donald Trump pulls Biglaw Firm in the middle of election interference efforts
Joe Patrice is Senior Editor at Above the Law and co-moderator of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re into law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe is also the managing director of RPN Executive Search.