Former President Donald Trump on Sunday announced two new lawyers to lead the defense in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial after parting ways with his previous defense team.
Attorneys David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. will head his impeachment defense with the trial expected to begin on Feb. 9, Trump’s office said in a statement.
“Highly respected trial lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr., will head his impeachment defense legal team, bringing national profiles and significant trial experience in high-profile cases to the effort,” the statement said.
“Schoen has already been working with the 45th President and other advisors to prepare for the upcoming trial, and both Schoen and Castor agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional – a fact 45 Senators voted in agreement with last week,” the release added.
Schoen is described in the statement as a “seasoned trial attorney,” and previously represented Trump’s former adviser Roger Stone in a sentencing appeal. Stone was convicted in late 2019 of all seven charges initially filed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office for lying under oath to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Castor is a former Pennsylvania district attorney and has tried a number of high-profile cases. In 2005, Castor declined to prosecute entertainer Bill Cosby in 2005 after a woman accused Cosby of sexual assault. Castor briefly served as the Pennsylvania acting attorney general in 2016 following the resignation of Attorney General Kathleen Kane after she was convicted of perjury and abusing her power.
“The strength of our Constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history,” Castor said in the statement. “It is strong and resilient. A document written for the ages, and it will triumph over partisanship yet again, and always.”
Trump’s previous team, including lead attorneys Butch Bowers and Deborah Barberi, as well as three other lawyers associated with the team, departed over this weekend. According to a source, both South Carolina lawyers who were recommended by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) described the departure as a “mutual decision.”
The attorneys reportedly left because of a disagreement over strategy. Trump wanted the lawyers to argue that the 2020 election was stolen from him by massive fraud rather than focus on the legality of convicting a president after leaving office, according to CNN who first broke the news.
Trump adviser Jason Miller said the former president did not ask the lawyers to do so and any suggestion was “fake news.”
“The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country. In fact, 45 Senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional. We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly,” Miller said.
Democrats in the House, joined by 10 Republicans voted to impeach Trump for a second time in a 232-197 vote on the charge of “incitement of insurrection” on Jan. 13 — seven days before he left office in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Last week, 45 Senate Republicans voted to dismiss the trial on a point of order brought forward by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). The motion argued the impeachment proceeding was unconstitutional since Trump is no longer in office. The vote in a show of party unity is a clear sign Trump will not be convicted by the Senate.
Trump’s legal team is due to file a response to the impeachment charge on Tuesday.