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Trump Taps Florida Litigator as Media Company’s Legal Chief (1)

Oct. 26, 2021, 11:00 PMUpdated: Oct. 26, 2021, 11:39 PM

Former President Donald Trump’s new social media company, launched as part of his battle against Big Tech, has hired Florida lawyer Lori Heyer-Bednar as its chief legal officer, according to a Tuesday public filing.

The former Fort Lauderdale-based partner at Roetzel & Andress previously served as head of the regional law firm’s business litigation practice. She has also worked as a partner at Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann in Boca Raton, Fla.

Heyer-Bednar was identified as Trump Media & Technology Group Corp.'s top lawyer in a merger agreement filed by Digital World Acquisition Corp. The special purpose acquisition company plans to merge with Trump’s company to bring it public.

Ellenoff Grossman & Schole, a boutique known for its expertise in advising SPACs, is listed as counsel to DWAC, while Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough is representing TMTG, according to securities filings.

TMTG said in an Oct. 20 statement its mission is to “create a rival to the liberal media consortium and fight back against the ‘Big Tech’ companies of Silicon Valley,’ which have used their unilateral power to silence opposing voices in America.”

Bloomberg News reported last week that shares in DWAC initially soared 1,225% upon the news of the Miami-based SPAC’s plans to merge with TMTG. By Tuesday, however, a retail trading surge in the stock had started to fizzle.

Heyer-Bednar didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about when she officially joined TMTG, which expects to roll out a service called Truth Social during the first quarter of 2022.

Heyer-Bednar’s Florida Bar registration shows that she was most recently affiliated with BAT Land Development II Corp., a Miami-based entity that lists as an officer and director Kenneth Bednar, another South Florida lawyer. He also didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Kenneth Bednar’s Florida Bar registration also notes that he’s the general counsel for BAT Land. Public records show that the latter is one of nearly a dozen entities incorporated in Florida by Lori Heyer-Bednar.

Heyer-Bednar has represented in court dozens of Florida-based property developers and local banks, according to Bloomberg Law data. Her clients have included BB&T Corp., which following a recent merger is now known as Truist Financial Corp.

A 2015 announcement by Roetzel & Andress touting Heyer-Bedar as the first woman to lead its largest practice group noted that the Coral Gables, Fla., native previously spent 16 years as an equity partner at Miami-based commercial litigation and transactional firm Haley, Sinagra & Perez.

TMTG’s recruitment of Heyer-Bednar comes as many Big Law firms have sought to distance themselves from Trump following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

(Updates story throughout with more details on Heyer-Bednar and TMTG.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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