They are not Washington insiders, but they are polished pros who have prosecuted and defended mobsters, executives and even a federal agent.
They are the Raskins, as in Marty and Jane, who got married in 1990 and soon after formed their own law firm in Miami.
President Donald Trump hopes the couple — along with his confidant, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — will defend his presidency as special counsel Robert Mueller drills deeper into the muck of allegations that the Trump campaign collaborated with Russian meddlers in the 2016 U.S. election.
The Trump defense team, which has struggled to keep and attract legal talent, announced Thursday that Giuliani was coming on board. That was not exactly surprising. The former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York was an early candidate for U.S. attorney general in the Trump administration and remains a trusted adviser.
But the Raskins, at least to political types, are unknowns. The couple's colleagues in Miami say they are just what Trump might need to keep him out of trouble, not only in the Russian probe but also in a new spin-off investigation of the president's personal lawyer in New York, Michael Cohen.
Former federal prosecutor Michael "Pat" Sullivan, who retired last year after a near-half century in the U.S. attorney's office in Miami, praised the Raskins as a "dynamic duo."
Sulllivan once worked alongside Marty Raskin in the 1980s when he rose to criminal chief in the Miami office. Raskin was also a finalist for the top job as U.S. attorney after Dexter Lehtinen resigned in 1992, and he was a law partner with former federal prosecutor Donald Graham before he was appointed as a federal judge.
During the 1980s, his future wife, Jane, prosecuted organized crime cases for the Justice Department in Boston and became first assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Massachusetts. The Raskins met at an American Bar Association Conference in New Orleans, where Jane Raskin was delivering a lecture on white collar crime.
"The Trump legal team just got an infusion of excellent legal talent," said Sullivan. "Their reputations have only improved and increased since their days as prosecutors. They're smart lawyers who get very satisfactory outcomes for their clients."
Former federal prosecutor Silvia Pinera-Vazquez, who teamed up with the Raskins four years ago to win the trial acquittal of a federal agent charged with extorting Colombian drug traffickers, said "the president is in good hands."
"Jane and Marty Raskin are excellent strategists and vigorous advocates who are well respected by the judiciary, U.S attorneys across the country and the defense bar," Pinera-Vazquez said. "Their high ethical standards and keen knowledge of criminal defense investigations will serve the president well."
The Raskins declined to comment for this story. Their appeal to Trump's defense team appears to be strictly for their legal expertise. The couple and their law firm, according to federal campaign donation websites, have made contributions only to a handful of Republican and Democratic politicians — and none to Trump's presidential campaign.
Their website highlights major cases, including representing SabreTech, an aircraft maintenance company charged in the 1996 ValuJet crash in the Everglades. The site also boasts top rankings by U.S. News-Best Lawyers, Florida Super Lawyers and Chambers & Partners' Guide to America's Leading Business Lawyers. Chambers quoted competitors as saying: "They are a good team to get you out of trouble."
The biggest potential pitfall now confronting Trump is whether he will sit for questioning by Mueller, a former FBI director, and his team of special prosecutors about his campaign's alleged "collusion" with the Russians. Another minefield is the collateral probe led by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan of the president's personal lawyer, Cohen, who is better known as a "fixer" of Trump's extramarital affairs and possesses a trove of information about his business dealings.
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