Florida Bill Wants to Pay $5 Million of Trump's Legal Fees

Florida Bill Wants to Pay $5 Million of Trump's Legal Fees

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
January 22, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—A new Florida bill would create a $5 million "Freedom Fighters Fund" to pay former President Donald Trump's legal fees, who currently faces 91 felony counts. Backed by the state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, the money would come from fees paid by candidates running for office and restored with voluntary donations when a citizen gets a new driver's license.

"We’re in the midst of an historic moment where we’re watching an election that’s trying to be stolen by Left wing prosecutors, the Biden Administration and even Blue States," SB 1740's sponsor, Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia, said, "They’re not trying to win at the ballot box; they’re trying to keep President Trump off the ballot by weaponizing the courts."

The bill comes one day after DeSantis dropped out of the presidential race, and a few months after Donald Trump's removal from the ballot in two states and proposed removal in 21 others. Following the timeline, the "Freedom Fighters Fund" appears to be a vessel of exonerating Trump whilst uniting Florida Republicans.

"We need this Freedom Fighters Fund because as the Free State of Florida, we’re facing an onslaught of attacks from the federal government against the Sunshine State," CFO Patronis said in a press release, "If we can help and support a Florida candidate for the White House, that’s just good from a dollars and cents perspective."

According to the bill, the Department of Financial Services would have “the sole authority to determine if a person has been subject to political discrimination.” Residents would have the option to donate to the nonprofit “Defending Freedom Fighters Trust Fund” on the driver's license renewal form, replenishing the fund.

"There are many urgent issues facing our state, and it’s a disgusting dereliction of duty that CFO Patronis and GOP lawmakers would rather use Floridians’ hard-earned dollars to protect a corrupt coward of a man facing 91 felony charges than on actually helping everyday people," Democrat Sen. Shevrin Jones told the Floridian.

"This attempt to pull a fast one on taxpayers is shameful and yet another abuse of power from Trump and his allies who are incapable of winning elections fairly or advancing MAGA’s extremist agenda without resorting to illegal activity," He added.

Donald Trump has been federally indicted in Washington D.C., New York, and Florida—led by special counsel Jack Smith—and indicted at the state level in Georgia, all for different alleged crimes. Trump faces four felony counts in Washington, D.C. on the allegations of attempting to overturn the 2020 election. In New York, he faces 34 felony counts in relation to hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. In Florida, Trump faces 40 felony counts for keeping and obstructing the retrieval of classified documents after he left office. And in Georgia, he faces 13 felony counts for alleged election interference within the state.

Smith's prosecution of Trump before the 2024 election has led to conservative cries of election interference, with CFO Patronis writing that "the Left is really good at weaponizing the courts, and because President Biden is so unpopular, they’re not just trying to beat Trump at the ballot box, they’re trying to throw him behind bars, which is outrageous."

Neither SB 1740 nor its linked bill, SB 1738, have seen committee. Neither bill has a counterpart in the House.


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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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