Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is changing his attorneys as a federal investigation heats up into his financial transactions, according to people familiar with the matter.
Manafort’s case will now be handled by Miller and Chevalier, a boutique firm in Washington that specializes in complicated financial crimes among other issues, these people said.
A spokesman confirmed the change. “Mr. Manafort is in the process of retaining his former counsel, Miller & Chevalier, to represent him in the office of special counsel investigation. As of today, WilmerHale no longer represents Mr. Manafort," Jason Maloni said in a statement.
Kevin Downing, a former senior Department of Justice official known for his work representing clients and firms facing complex financial investigations, will be working on the case, one of these people familiar with the matter said. Downing will have help from other lawyers also working on the case.
Manafort is cutting ties with WilmerHale, the firm that has represented him in the matter so far. His former lawyer there, Reg Brown, led the congressional investigations practice.
The move could signify a realization that the case has heated up, one of these people said, and that Manafort needs specialized criminal counsel. The switch comes after the FBI raided his home last month and a number of financial institutions were subpoenaed, these people said. The Washington Post first reported the home search, and Bloomberg first reported the bank subpoenas.
While Manafort has emerged as a key figure in the various probes into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials to influence the 2016 election, special counsel Robert Mueller has also been examining Manafort’s personal finances and consulting work.