What We Know About Donald Trump's New Lawyer, Steven Sadow

When you're facing four criminal indictments with four potential trial dates and running for president, you're going to need some good lawyers. And if there's one thing that Donald Trump seems to know about, it's lawyers, as he and his businesses have been involved in over 4,000 lawsuits. Though, none of those legal issues are quite so potentially disruptive to his life as the current indictments against him, which have the potential to see him behind bars for years.

In his most recent indictment in Georgia, Trump and 18 other co-defendants were charged with, among other things, felony racketeering related to trying to overturn the 2020 election results. Trump surrendered himself late in the day to Fulton County Jail, and the world got its first mugshot of any American president. Earlier that day, Trump changed up his legal team, with Steven Sadow filing paperwork in Fulton County confirming that he was Trump's lead counsel.

Sadow is a seasoned, well-respected criminal defense attorney based out of Atlanta, and he replaced Drew Findling, who had been in one of the top spots on Trump's Georgia legal team. His job title is listed as special counsel for white-collar and high-profile defense with Schulten Ward Turner & Weiss, and he graduated from Marietta College with his undergraduate degree in 1976. Three years later, he graduated from Emory University with his J.D., and he passed the Georgia bar the same year.

Steven Sadow has a long history of criminal defense

Steven Sadow has a history of defending high-profile clients in the Atlanta, Georgia area; he's been the representative for Usher, T.I., and Rick Ross. Perhaps most relevant to Donald Trump is that Sadow has a history of defending clients in Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) cases. He recently represented rapper Gunna in a RICO case that was brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the same DA who has charged Trump. He helped negotiate a plea for Gunna, which avoided a trial and his sentence was time served.

Sadow also defended Steven E. Kaplan, owner of the Gold Club — a strip club frequented by professional athletes — in a high-profile case against federal RICO conspiracy charges back in the early 2000s. Kaplan pled guilty and got 16 months in prison.

Sadow's work has been recognized and awarded in the state for decades. In 2000, he was named Georgia Lawyer Newsmaker of the Year by the "Fulton County Daily Report." And he made Atlanta's top 500 most powerful leaders three years in a row. He told the magazine that for him, practicing law "was a calling. I knew I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney at age 11." He also revealed that his favorite movie is, fittingly, "My Cousin Vinny," and his hidden talent is being a pocket billiards champion in college.

What defense will Steven Sadow use for Donald Trump?

Two years before he would become the lead lawyer for Donald Trump in Georgia, Steven Sadow told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he thinks RICO is used too often in the state. But he acknowledged that RICO charges would be a logical move for Defense Attorney Tani Willis to use against Trump, considering the evidence that she'd get to use. By making it a RICO case, "It's a broadening of culpability," Sadow explained. "People get swept up and charged with criminal activity based on the conduct of others for which they are being held responsible, despite being on the fringes."

After becoming Trump's lead lawyer in this case, Sadow didn't waste any time in speaking out on his client's behalf. Sadow released a statement that said: "[Trump] is innocent of all the charges brought against him," via The New York Times. He also seemed to hint at a future argument that might be made in Trump's defense: "Prosecutions intended to advance or serve the ambitions and careers of political opponents of the president have no place in our justice system."

Trump has, at times, had a challenging time keeping lawyers on his team. In some cases, he fires them — like when Trump got rid of Rudy Giuliani as his personal lawyer. And in other cases, they've chosen to step down. So we'll see how long Sadow lasts.