A legal defense fund set up for Trump campaign advisor Michael Caputo has raised more than $300,000, a press release from the fund touted Friday, and is now prepared to pay the legal fees of other Trump associates, including J.D. Gordon, another veteran of the Trump campaign.
Caputo’s cooperation with congressional investigators, according to the statement, has cost him $125,000 in legal fees. Caputo, a longtime GOP operative who also did some consulting work in Russia, agreed to an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team earlier this month.
Gordon also has been interviewed by Mueller and by congressional investigators. A member of the Trump campaign’s foreign policy team, Gordon was involved in discussions about softening the GOP Platform’s Ukraine posturing towards Russia.
“With his fees so far paid in full, Michael asked us to consider assisting others caught up in this partisan witch hunt,” principal trustee Ralph Lorigo said in the press release. “Our articles of trust allow such expenditures and we believe his donors support this decision.”
The defense fund, dubbed the Michael Caputo Legal Fund, is one of a number of entities being set up to pay the escalating legal fees of Trump associates swept up in the various Russia investigations. The Patriot Legal Expense Fund Trust was set up earlier this year to assist Trump aides, but questions remain about who will receive legal funding and how those decisions will be made.
Trump ally Roger Stone — claiming the domain name whoframedrogerstone.com — has his own legal defense fund.
Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates was scolded by a federal judge last year for filming a video promoting his legal defense fund, the Defending American Rights Legal Fund, in violation of a gag order the judge had imposed on the case. Gates, in his decision to later cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team in a plea deal, cited the mounting legals costs fighting the case posed.
The White House has said that President Trump will pay his own personal legal fees, though the Republican National Committee bankrolled his personal attorneys for some time. The RNC also paid the legal firm representing Trump’s former communication director Hope Hicks $450,000, according to recent disclosure forms.