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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Trump Organization helping to defend QAnon promoter

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President Trump’s law firm is now working to vindicate an outspoken proponent of the far-fetched conspiracy theory known as QAnon, whose claims about the role of the Secret Service have been largely discredited by many news organizations.

Under a contract that was posted on public websites last week, the Trump Organization said it was in the process of providing full legal support to QAnon adherent Aaron Rose, who has posted a series of public posts on his Instagram account in support of the theory.

The document provided by the Trump Organization said Mr. Rose was an employee of Jones Day, the Washington law firm representing the Trump Organization. In a statement, a Jones Day spokeswoman said it had “been retained” to “advise on relevant government issues.”

Donald Trump is using Jones Day to defend a proponent of QAnon. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

“An individual I consulted with had asked us to evaluate the possibility of providing legal assistance to a QAnon advocate,” Jean Spagnolo, the managing partner of Jones Day, said in the statement. “Because the president’s business works with many private companies and their executives, QAnon advocate Aaron Rose is indeed a client of Jones Day. We consider it a privilege to assist his legal team and, as with any representation, we take no position on any legal or ethical matter.”

Another Trump Organization contract, posted on Monday night, indicated that Mr. Rose would receive the following assistance: “The Trump Organization’s counsel will provide Mr. Rose with hard copies of all communications and documents that have been requested as part of this matter in exchange for Mr. Rose’s silence.”

Mr. Rose, an analyst for Strategy Analytics, has touted the QAnon theory for nearly a year. Last week, he highlighted a purported 2017 document, known as a “Hoax Diary,” that he said represented evidence of a sophisticated conspiracy.

The FBI has been investigating Mr. Rose, who has frequently shared the memos with radio and television hosts, for nearly a year, according to media reports.

Mr. Rose made a brief statement on Monday saying he had the “utmost respect” for Mr. Trump’s business interests. “I’m proud to have been recruited by the Trump Organization to help advise them on various aspects of government policy,” he said.

A number of news organizations have questioned Mr. Rose’s legitimacy, including The New York Times, which said his posts included at least one photo with QAnon writer Paul Ray and a man whose photo has been used in QAnon tweets.

For more than a year, other leading QAnon theorists have also worked with the president’s law firm to help promote the conspiracy theory. The Journal News of White Plains, N.Y., reported in July that the firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP had been working with Jacob Michael, another QAnon believer.

Ms. Spagnolo said the Jones Day staff vetted any claims by people claiming to represent the Trump Organization or the Trump Foundation to make sure they met legal standards.

“The [Trump Organization] does not do anything illegal or unethical,” she said. “We vet all claims that we investigate.”

This is not the first time that Mr. Trump has worked closely with Mr. Rose. In 2017, Mr. Rose’s nonprofit organization, Marshall Town, put up billboards around a smaller town called Stewart in Central Pennsylvania.

The billboards mentioned “Q,” and featured a poster featuring a photo of the president and a suspicious-looking blood-red arm darting toward the camera. The billboard suggested that “QAnon,” an outlet for questions about presidential power, has “owned up to their power.”

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