Trump inked a deal with former Florida solicitor general Chris Kise, an experienced attorney and shrewd political operator, to advise the former president in his legal wrangling over an August 8 FBI raid, sources with knowledge of the hire told NBC News. Kise is expected to make his first court appearance on behalf of Trump on Thursday to discuss the former president’s request for a special master in front of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.
Discussions between Trump and Kise reportedly began shortly after the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago as Trump shopped around for an experienced criminal defense attorney. Kise will join Trump’s current attorneys, Evan Corcoran and Jim Trusty, in working on the FBI raid case.
“Chris is a 360-degree lawyer: appellate, civil, criminal, state and federal — he can do it all,” former Florida Sen. George LeMieux told NBC. Kise was appointed solicitor general in 2003 when LeMieux was serving as chief of staff to then-Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist.
Crowning Kise’s legal career are four successfully argued cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. He has successfully argued dozens of others in front of the Supreme Court of Florida and has extensive experience across state and federal courts, according to his biography.
Before signing a contract to represent Trump, Kise worked at the firm Foley and Lardner. As of Tuesday morning, Kise’s name no longer appears on the firm’s website.
Kise is described as a “fixture in Florida Republican politics,” according to Politico. He served as counsel to former Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Kise later served as general counsel to former Florida Governor Rick Scott’s transition team in 2010 and then again for Governor Ron DeSantis’s team in 2018.
During DeSantis’s 2018 run for governor against Democratic candidate and former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Kise released 2016 text messages showing Gillum accepted tickets to see the Broadway play “Hamilton” from an undercover FBI agent. The bombshell exacerbated ethical and corruption concerns hanging over Gillum’s mayoral administration.
Kise, who made the texts public two weeks before election day, has denied that he released the messages for any political motive. He said he was doing what was right for his then-client, Adam Corey, a Tallahassee lobbyist who was once considered a staunch Gillum ally.
DeSantis went on to beat Gillum in the gubernatorial race by more than 30,000 votes, a difference of less than half a percentage point.