Trump ignored his legal team's advice to settle the classified documents case. Instead, he listened to a conservative activist.
- Trump reportedly rejected his legal team's proposal to try to settle the classified documents case.
- He instead took the advice of a conservative activist who urged him to fight, The Washington Post reported.
Former President Donald Trump rejected his legal team's proposal to try to settle the classified documents case with the Justice Department — and instead took the advice of a conservative activist who urged him to fight, according to a new report.
Trump attorney Christopher Kise said in the fall of 2022 that he wanted to approach the Justice Department to arrange a deal with Attorney General Merrick Garland that would avoid Trump being indicted on federal charges in the matter, The Washington Post reported.
Kise told others he was hoping to "take the temperature down" with the promise of the return of all documents from Trump's Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach, Florida, according to the report.
However, Trump dismissed that strategy, and Kise never approached prosecutors, three people briefed on the matter told The Washington Post.
Trump instead opted to listen to Tom Fitton, the head of the conservative group Judicial Watch, and others who told him he could legally keep the documents and that he should go head-to-head with the Justice Department, The Washington Post reported, citing Trump advisors.
The advisors said that Trump frequently referenced Fitton in conversations with others, and that Fitton conveyed to some of Trump's attorneys that former president had the authority to keep the documents.
Fitton was blamed by several Trump advisors for convincing the former president that he could hold on to the classified documents, according to The Washington Post.
In an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday, Fitton said he dined on filet mignon with Trump at his club on Monday before his first court appearance in the documents case.
"He's serious and ready to fight under the law," Fitton said, according to the report.
Trump pleaded not guilty in Miami federal court on Tuesday to the Justice Department's 37-count indictment against him.
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