By Andrew Goudsward
(Reuters) - Former President Donald Trump’s new lead criminal defense lawyer in Georgia is known for representing hip-hop performers and other high-profile criminal defendants in Atlanta.
Trump brought on attorney Steven Sadow to helm his defense against racketeering charges Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis brought over his alleged efforts to subvert his loss in Georgia in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Trump denies wrongdoing and accuses prosecutors of a politically motivated effort to harm his 2024 presidential campaign. Sadow was added to Trump’s legal team on the same day Trump was due to surrender to authorities in Georgia.
In a statement on Thursday, Sadow said Trump “should never have been indicted.”
“Prosecutions intended to advance or serve the ambitions and careers of political opponents of the president have no place in our justice system,” he said in the statement.
Sadow replaces another prominent Atlanta-based attorney, Drew Findling, who had been leading Trump’s defense in the case.
Like Findling, who earned the nickname #BillionDollarLawyer for representing hip-hop stars, Sadow has staked his career on defending well-known defendants in Georgia courtrooms.
Findling did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sadow recently represented rapper Sergio Kitchens, who performs as Gunna, in another sprawling racketeering case brought by Willis' office. Kitchens entered a negotiated deal, pleading guilty without admitting to criminal conduct, and was released from jail, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Sadow’s other clients have included rappers Rick Ross and T.I. and R&B performer Usher, according to his law firm website.
Sadow defended Joseph Sweeting, tried alongside former NFL star linebacker Ray Lewis, in a highly publicized murder trial in 2000 over the killing of two men at an Atlanta nightclub. Sweeting was acquitted by a jury.
Sadow has been critical of Georgia’s racketeering law, which is at the center of the Trump case, telling the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last year it has been overused.
Trump was charged with racketeering and other offenses along with 18 others accused of being part of a criminal enterprise that sought to overturn the Republican Trump’s narrow 2020 loss in Georgia to Democrat Joe Biden.
In a 2015 interview with Georgia Super Lawyers magazine, Sadow said he never had an interest in being a prosecutor, only defending those accused of crimes.
“The true criminal defense attorney fights to protect the rights of an accused because he is the law’s front line against tyranny,” he said.
(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward; Editing by Amy Stevens and Howard Goller)