Legal representatives are believed to have disagreed over strategy
Donald Trump has named two lawyers to his impeachment defence team, one day after it was revealed that the former president had parted ways with several other attorneys.
The two lawyers representing him will be David Schoen, a criminal defence lawyer with offices in Alabama and New York, and Bruce Castor, a former county prosecutor in Pennsylvania. Both issued statements through a Trump adviser saying that they were honored to take the job.
“The strength of our constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history. It is strong and resilient. A document written for the ages, and it will triumph over partisanship yet again, and always,” said Mr Castor.
Mr Trump's team revealed at the weekend that several South Carolina lawyers who were set to represent him at the trial starting next week were no longer participating.
Mr Trump, the first president in American history to be impeached twice, is set to stand trial in the Senate on a charge that he incited his supporters to storm Congress on January 6 as lawmakers met to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Republicans and Trump aides have made clear that they intend to make a simple argument in the trial: Mr Trump’s trial is unconstitutional because he is no longer in office. Legal scholars say there is no bar to an impeachment trial despite Mr Trump having left the White House.
“The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country," Trump adviser Jason Miller has said.
Mr Castor is as well-known in Pennsylvania for a case that he did not bring as he is for any of the prosecutions that he brought. He declined to charge actor Bill Cosby after a woman went to police in suburban Philadelphia in 2005 to say that Cosby had drugged and molested her a year earlier.
A new prosecutor arrested Cosby in 2015 after documents from her 2005 civil suit against Cosby were unsealed, revealing Cosby’s damaging testimony about sexual encounters with the woman, Andrea Constand, and others.
Beofer the weekend, two South Carolina attorneys – Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier – had been expected to join the team. But according to reports their decision to quit was mutually agreed. It is understood there was a dispute over strategy.
The New York Times said that Mr Trump wanted his legal team to promote his argument that the election was “stolen”, a claim dismissed by senior Republicans including Mitch McConnell, the party’s leader in the Senate.
Jason Miller, Mr Trump’s spokesman, sought to play down the significance of the departures. He said: “We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly.”
Mr Bowers, seen as a mainstream Republican rather than an unquestioning supporter of Mr Trump, had agreed to represent the former president following the intervention of Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina senator.
His appointment was seen as shrewd, given the need to persuade Republican senators not to vote with the Democrats.
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