Former U.S. President Donald Trump announced that two trial lawyers will take over representing him at his upcoming impeachment trial after parting ways with his previous defense team.
Attorneys David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. will head his impeachment defense, the former president announced Sunday evening. His previous attorneys, including Butch Bowers of South Carolina, departed this weekend, leaving the president without representation just over a week before his trial is to start.
Schoen has already been working with Trump and other advisers to prepare for the trial, and both Schoen and Castor agree that the impeachment is unconstitutional, Trump said in the release.
Former White House lawyers Pat Cipollone and Eric Herschmann are still in touch with Trump but won’t be taking an official role in his defense, said two people familiar with the matter.
Schoen previously represented Trump adviser Roger Stone and victims of terrorism under the Anti-Terrorism Act, according to Trump’s office. He practices across the U.S., focusing on civil rights litigation in Alabama and federal criminal defense work, including white collar cases, in New York, the release said. Schoen has appeared on Fox News, including to discuss the case of accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Castor was district attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, from 2000 to 2008 and later twice elected Montgomery County commissioner, according to the release. Castor also served as solicitor general and acting attorney general of Pennsylvania.
The moves comes as the former president faces a Tuesday deadline to file an initial response to the impeachment charge, and the trial is expected to begin Feb. 9.
Citing sources it didn’t identify, CNN reported on Saturday that Bowers and the other attorneys representing Trump parted ways after the former president wanted the lawyers to argue that the Nov. 3 election had been stolen from him by massive fraud, an argument he’s already lost in multiple court challenges. The lawyers prefer to focus on the constitutionality of impeaching a president who’s already left office.
The House impeached Trump on one charge of incitement of insurrection after he encouraged supporters who went on to riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an effort to stop the counting of Electoral College votes for President Joe Biden. Five people died in the mayhem, including one police officer.
Democrats were joined by 10 Republicans, including No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming, in supporting impeachment.
Trump’s allies have argued that a president who is no longer in office can’t be impeached, and 45 Republican senators voted last week for a measure to declare the attempt unconstitutional, suggesting it is unlikely at least 17 would vote to convict.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that while Trump’s actions were “inexcusable,” he’s keeping an open mind as a juror and the constitutionality of impeaching a former president must be considered.
“If the argument is not going to be made on issues like constitutionality, which are real issues and need to be addressed, I think it will not benefit the president,” said Portman, who announced last week he’s not seeking re-election in 2022.
On “Fox News Sunday,” GOP Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said that if the evidence presented is that Trump “contributed to an atmosphere to have people charge the Capitol” and threaten members of Congress, “I would hope that whatever defense is put up refutes that charge.”
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