Law Firms

Quinn Emanuel no longer represents Steve Bannon after he suggests beheading Dr. Fauci

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Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon in 2017. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has said it is no longer representing Steve Bannon after the former strategist for President Donald Trump made controversial remarks on a podcast.

Quinn Emanuel partner William Burck did not disclose the reason for withdrawing from Bannon’s defense on charges that he defrauded donors to an online crowdfunding campaign to help pay for the border wall, report the New York Law Journal, Law360 and the New York Times.

Burck’s Nov. 6 letter to U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York merely said Bannon is in the process of retaining new counsel, and Quinn Emanuel intends to move to withdraw.

But the withdrawal follows Bannon’s suggestion in a video Thursday that he would put the heads of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and FBI Director Christopher Wray on pikes outside the White House. Bannon made the remarks on his podcast, called War Room: Pandemic.

“I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England,” Bannon said. “I’d put the heads on pikes, right? I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats: You either get with the program or you’re gone.”

Twitter shut down the podcast’s account for violating rules on the glorification of violence. YouTube pulled the video for violating rules on the incitement of violence.

The New York Times spoke with Stephen Gillers, a professor at the New York University School of Law, about the withdrawal. Speaking generally, Gillers said lawyers will withdraw when a client sabotages their work.

“Bannon’s public comments made Burck’s job more difficult,” Gillers said. “Burck was hired to fight the prosecutors and should not also have to do battle with his own client.”

The New York Law Journal also points out that prosecutors had raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest because Quinn Emanuel lawyers were involved in work for the crowdfunding campaign, called We Build the Wall. Burck had responded that none of the lawyers working on Bannon’s criminal case had been involved in that work.

Bannon is accused of receiving more than $1 million of Build the Wall funds through a nonprofit that he controlled, at least some of which was used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses.

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