US President Donald Trump returns to the White House after the news media declared the Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 US presidential election in Washington, USA on November 7, 2020.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
After members of his first legal team quit, former President Donald Trump has won two new lawyers to represent him in his upcoming second impeachment trial.
Two trial lawyers, David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr., will lead the legal team defending Trump in the Senate against charges of instigating the deadly invasion of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
The hiring of Schoen, a civil rights and criminal defense attorney who previously represented Trump's longtime ally Roger Stone, and Castor, a former district attorney known for failing to prosecute Bill Cosby for sexual assault, was announced in a press release on Sunday Trump's office announced.
The current team was deployed after multiple outlets reported that Trump's former impeachment attorneys had left after the 45th President asked them to focus his defense on unsubstantiated election fraud claims.
Trump, who lost to President Joe Biden in November, falsely claimed for weeks that the race was stolen from him through widespread fraud. He reiterated these claims, calling on then-Vice President Mike Pence to discard the election results during a rally outside the White House just before a group of his supporters stormed the Capitol.
A source told NBC News that the attorneys' departure from Trump's legal team was a "mutual decision." The New York Times reported, citing a person familiar with the matter, that one of the late lawyers, Butch Bowers, had no chemistry with Trump.
The impeachment process is set to begin on February 9, almost three weeks after Trump left the White House to make way for Biden. Last week, 45 Republican senators voted for a motion declaring it unconstitutional to hold a trial to convict an out-of-office president – a view held by Trump's new legal team.
"Schön has already worked with the 45th President and other advisers to prepare for the upcoming trial, and both Schön and Castor agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional," Trump's office said in a statement.
The process-oriented argument is viewed by some as a potential escape route for Republicans who refused to defend Trump's behavior prior to the Capitol uprising but are unwilling to publicly cross their former party leader, let alone vote for him on impeachment condemn.
Democrats reject this argument. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Vowed that if Trump is convicted, there will be another vote preventing him from ever being president again. But if the 45 GOP senators who voted to dismiss the process ultimately release Trump, the Democrats will fall well short of the 67 votes required to convict.
In this file photo dated Aug. 16, 2016, Bruce L. Castor Jr. speaks the day before taking the oath to become acting attorney general during a press conference at the agency's headquarters in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Marc Levy | AP
"I consider it a privilege to represent the 45th President," said Castor in a statement from Trump's office.
"The strength of our constitution is being tested like never before in our history. It is strong and resilient. A document that was written to last forever and will triumph over partisanship again and again," he said.
Castor was the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania District Attorney from 2000 to 2008. He has also served as the district commissioner and attorney general and brief acting attorney general for Keystone State.
Castor decided not to bring sexual assault charges against world-famous entertainer and comedian Cosby in 2005 after former Temple University employee Andrea Constand told police that Cosby attacked her at his Pennsylvania mansion.
A decade later, Cosby was arrested by the same prosecutor and charged with substance abuse and sexual assault on Constand. Cosby's lawyers argued that he had an agreement with Castor that he would not be charged. Castor said in 2016 that he wanted prosecutors to win.
Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in prison in 2018. Last June, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court appealed Cosby.
Castor is the cousin of Stephen Castor, a Republican House attorney who was involved in Trump's first impeachment in 2019, according to the New York Times. Stephen Castor recommended his cousin to Trump for his second impeachment team, according to the Times.
Lawyer David Schoen
Joe Cavaretta | South Florida Sun Sentinel | AP
Schoen, meanwhile, is linked to Trump through his representation of Republican agent Roger Stone in an appeal against his criminal conviction.
Stone was charged with disability, false statements and witness manipulation in 2019 as part of the Russia investigation by then special adviser Robert Mueller. The charges related to Stone's efforts during the 2016 presidential campaign to obtain information from the WikiLeaks document disclosure group about emails stolen from prominent Democrats.
Stone was convicted and sentenced to 40 months in prison. Days before he was due to report to a federal prison camp, Trump, a frequent critic of Müller, commuted Stone's verdict "in the face of the tremendous facts and circumstances of his unfair persecution, arrest and trial."
In his final month in office, Trump pardoned Stone amid dozens of other pardons.
Schön said in a statement from Trump's office on Sunday: "It is an honor to represent 45th President Donald J. Trump and the United States Constitution."
According to reports, on August 1, 2019, days before Epstein's death, Schön met with alleged child trafficker Jeffrey Epstein in New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center. Schön considered becoming Epstein's principal attorney.
Epstein's death was classified as a suicide by hanging in his prison cell. But before the New York coroner made that decision, Schön told the Atlanta Jewish Times, "I don't think it was suicide … I think someone killed him."
In a recent interview with the outlet, Schön said he represented "all sorts of respected gangster figures: the alleged boss of the Russian mafia in that country, the Israeli mafia and two Italian bosses, as well as a man who the government claimed was the greatest Mafioso in. " the world."
Castor and Schoen have little time to adjust to their last task. Trump will file a response to his impeachment lawsuit on Tuesday, a week before the trial begins.