Lawyer for key Jan. 6 witness worked across administrations at Justice Department

3 minute read

Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows during the administration of former U.S. President Donald Trump, testifies during a public hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol, at the Capitol, in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2022. Mandel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS

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  • Former Justice Department civil division head Jody Hunt representing Cassidy Hutchinson in Congressional hearings
  • Hunt is currently an attorney at law firm Alston & Bird

(Reuters) - The former top Trump Justice Department official now representing star Jan. 6 select committee witness Cassidy Hutchinson defended the Trump administration while in government, but in his next job at a law firm helped fend off the state of Texas's 2020 election fraud claims.

Hunt was seen sitting behind Hutchinson Wednesday as she delivered testimony about what she witnessed in the West Wing in the run-up to and during the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Hunt did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Alston & Bird confirmed that Hunt and William Jordan, another firm attorney, are representing Hutchinson. The firm did not immediately respond to questions about when it began working for Hutchinson and whether it was representing her without charge.

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Citing U.S. media outlets, Reuters reported Wednesday on pushback against Hutchinson's testimony, including an account she said was shared with her of Trump lunging for the wheel in his secured vehicle after his Secret Service detail said he could not go to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Hunt and Jordan said through a law firm spokesperson Wednesday that Hutchinson "stands by all of the testimony" that she delivered under oath.

Hutchinson was previously represented in the Jan. 6 committee hearings by Stefan Passantino of law firm Michael Best & Friedrich, according to several news outlets including Politico and CNN.

Reuters was not immediately able to confirm this.

Passantino is a former Trump White House ethics lawyer who has defended Trump in litigation, including challenges to congressional subpoenas seeking the then-president's tax documents. He did not immediately reply to request for comment Wednesday.

Hunt does not appear to have spoken publicly about the Jan. 6 attack, but he was part of a team of attorneys who filed a brief on behalf of the state of Georgia against Texas' unsuccessful bid at the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 2020 election results.

Hunt was confirmed in 2018 to lead the Justice Department's civil division under Trump. He led the division as the decision was made to no longer defend the Affordable Care Act in court.

The division also came under scrutiny after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019 rejected the effort to add a question on citizenship status to the 2020 census. Hunt told a federal judge that the Justice Department was told to seek a "path forward" to still include the query despite the court ruling.

Federal judges rejected attempts to remove Justice Department civil division attorneys in the census litigation, and the Trump administration ultimately dropped the effort.

Hunt also oversaw litigation on the Trump administration's move to fight congressional requests for information, including attempts by House committees to enforce subpoenas for former White House counsel Don McGahn's testimony and the full report issued by former special counsel Robert Mueller.

He left the Department of Justice in July 2020 after 21 years there. He joined Alston & Bird the same month, according to a statement on the firm's website.

As senior counsel at the firm's Washington and Atlanta offices, Hunt represents litigation and government regulatory clients in industries like telecommunications and healthcare, his online firm bio said.

Hunt was on the Alston & Bird team in 2020 that was retained to investigate claims against the former head football coach at Baylor University, according to the firm. Alston & Bird did not disclose other Hunt clients.

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Reporting by Jacqueline Thomsen

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Jacqueline Thomsen, based in Washington, D.C., covers legal news related to policy, the courts and the legal profession. Follow her on Twitter at @jacq_thomsen and email her at jacqueline.thomsen@thomsonreuters.com.