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How high are legal fees for high-profile cases?

Hunter Biden and Rudy Giuliani are both struggling to pay for the expensive legal representation they need in their high-profile cases.
How high are legal fees for high-profile cases?
Posted at 6:08 PM, Oct 05, 2023

High-profile cases can come with high legal fees. 

Even the son of a president, or a former elected official may be facing challenges to pay. 

The president's son, Hunter Biden has pleaded not guilty to allegations he lied about drug use to buy a gun. Allies are now reportedly strategizing to see how Hunter Biden can raise money without crossing ethical lines. 

Defense attorney David Schoen said legal fees range from $40 to $2,000 per hour. 

"Often, in criminal cases, the lawyer takes on a flat fee, but that still has to be high, in a sense to account for the lawyer's overhead and time away from other cases," said David Schoen, a defense attorney. 

In the Georgia election interference case, Rudy Giuliani's lawyers want to withdraw from the case. Judge Scott McAfee has granted at least one of those requests. 

SEE MORE: Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to 3 federal gun charges

Legal experts say there's a possibility Giuliani can't afford the attorneys, and this is coming just weeks after other members of his legal team sued him in a New York court for allegedly failing to pay more than $1 million in legal fees. 

Nineteen people, including former President Donald Trump, have been charged in the racketeering case and some co-defendants tried for days to find lawyers because firms didn't want to take-on the financial risk. 

"Firms imploding over a particular case is something that happens enough that it's not rare. It's not unheard of by any means. Big cases are so stressful; there's so many new pressures that firms can implode," said Josh Schiffer, a Georgia based attorney. 

When defendants hire lawyers, the financial relationship could last from the moment they're charged all the way to appeals. 

"The average person who's a defendant in that case simply doesn't have discretionary resources to now all of a sudden come up with cash, or even mortgage the house to pay a lawyer, and once that money is spent, it's gone; they have no way of recouping that money," said Schoen. 

Some people will weigh risks and choose to take plea deals. 

In the Georgia case, one of the co-defendants has already taken a plea deal. 

Accepting a plea deal is a calculation some defendants make in order to avoid a drawn-out legal process that could drain them financially.

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