Trump names 2 new attorneys to lead impeachment defense

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Former President Donald Trump on Sunday named a new legal team to defend him in the Senate’s impeachment trial next week.

Trump, who frequently reshuffled attorneys and advisers during his presidency, was in need of new counsel because his impeachment lawyers departed on Saturday, including Butch Bowers, who was set to be his head counsel for the trial starting Feb. 9. Reports indicated that Trump wanted his attorneys to focus their defense on his baseless assertion that the election was stolen from him, rather than on a more narrow discussion about the events of Jan. 6.

Leading the new team, according to a statement from Trump’s office, will be David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. The two lawyers, according to Trump, will bring “national profiles and significant trial experience in high-profile cases to the effort.”

“The strength of our Constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history,” Castor was quoted as saying in Trump’s statement. “It is strong and resilient. A document written for the ages, and it will triumph over partisanship yet again, and always.”

Also joining the team will be a former Trump campaign aide, Ted Goodman, who will be assisting with communications and Capitol Hill outreach, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The House approved an article of impeachment against Trump on Jan. 13 — seven days before he left office — in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, which claimed five lives. The Senate declined to take up that article before Trump left office a week later, and most of the 50 Republicans have subsequently claimed that it is not constitutional for the Senate to hold an impeachment trial for a president who is no longer president.

In a Senate divided 50-50 along partisan lines, that makes it unlikely that Trump will be convicted. A conviction would prevent him from, among other things, seeking the presidency again.

Schoen, who is described as “a seasoned trial attorney,” recently represented Trump associate Roger Stone in a sentencing appeal, joining the case in April 2020.

“He had some compelling issues for appeal that went right to the heart of constitutional fair trial rights,” Schoen said when Stone dropped the appeal of his convictions, for which he was subsequently pardoned by Trump.

Schoen also appeared in an investigative documentary called “Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?” — and said that he believed the financier-pedophile had been murdered in prison in August 2019. Schoen had met with Epstein days before he died, he told the Atlanta Jewish Times.

Castor is the former district attorney for Montgomery County, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, prosecuting a number of high-profile homicide cases. In 2005, he declined to prosecute actor-comedian Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges. Castor would come under sharp criticism after leaving the DA’s office when dozens of other women came forward to accuse Cosby, who is now in prison.

Castor subsequently served as one of the county’s commissioners. Following the resignation of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane after she was convicted of perjury and abusing her power, Castor briefly served as the state’s acting attorney general in 2016.

Earlier Sunday, one of Trump’s soon-to-be jurors said he hoped Trump’s defense would rely on the facts of Jan. 6 and not get bogged down in other things that might cripple the case.

“The evidence, as I understand,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said, “is going to focus on whether or not the president contributed to an atmosphere to have people charge the Capitol, break in, threatening, if you will, both members of Congress and Vice President [Mike] Pence. That’s the charge. So, I would hope that whatever defense is put up refutes that charge.”

Gabby Orr contributed to this report.

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