As Donald Trump's four criminal cases march toward trials, some of his aides, allies and co-defendants are pointing fingers at the former president. In court documents and hearings, lawyers for people in Trump’s orbit — both high-level advisers and lesser known associates — are starting to reveal glimmers of a tried-and-true strategy in cases with many defendants: Portray yourself as a hapless pawn while piling blame on the apparent kingpin, Politico reports. “History has shown the 18 co-defendants that Donald doesn’t care about anyone but himself,” said Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, referring to the 18 people charged alongside Trump in the Georgia election racketeering case. “I suspect it will be every defendant for himself,” Cohen added. He once was Trump’s versatile fixer but is now a star witness against him in the New York criminal case stemming from hush money payments to a porn star.
Cohen broke with Trump years ago. In recent weeks, Trump allies who are facing or could have faced jeopardy in connection with three of his four pending criminal cases have shown that they might follow Cohen’s lead. In August, an information technology aide at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort dramatically changed his story about alleged efforts to erase surveillance video and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Jack Smith, who has charged Trump with hoarding classified documents. The aide, Yuscil Taveras, may now dodge a possible perjury charge prosecutors were floating — and it is likely to bolster Smith’s obstruction-of-justice case against Trump and two other aides. Three GOP activists who were indicted alongside Trump in Georgia for trying to interfere with the certification of President Biden’s win in the state asserted that their actions were all taken at Trump’s behest. And last week, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows — also charged in the Georgia case — signaled that his defense is likely to include blaming the former president as the primary driver of the effort.