The former president has said David Schoen and Bruce Castor will now lead his defense against “incitement to insurgency” charges.
Former US President Donald Trump has hired two new lawyers to lead his defense team for his historic second impeachment trial, which is set to begin next week.
Trump’s announcement follows reports that he suddenly separated with several of his impeachment lawyers.
Lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor will lead the defense effort in the trial set to begin in the U.S. Senate on February 9, Trump’s office said in a statement. Schoen had previously helped Trump and his advisers prepare for the proceedings, according to the former president’s office.
Butch Bowers and Deborah Barberi, two lawyers from South Carolina, are no longer on Trump’s team, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters news agency on Saturday. The source called their departure a “mutual decision”.
Castor has focused on criminal law throughout his career, while Schoen specializes in “Alabama civil rights litigation and federal criminal defense work, including white collar and other complex matters. , in New York, ”the statement read.
Trump, who stepped down on January 20, faces trial for inciting the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to block his electoral defeat to President Joe Biden. He is due to file a response to the impeachment charges on Tuesday.
The trial is historic on two fronts, marking the first time that a president has been indicted twice and the first time that a former President of the United States has faced such a trial.
Schoen had worked with the defense team before, and he and Castor “agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional,” the statement said.
Schoen previously represented former Trump adviser Roger Stone, who was convicted in November 2019 of lying under oath to lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump pardoned Stone in December 2020.
Castor is a former Pennsylvania District Attorney known for his decision not to prosecute artist Bill Cosby in 2005 after a woman accused Cosby of sexual assault. In 2017, Castor sued Cosby’s accuser in the defamation case, claiming she destroyed her political career in retaliation. Cosby, 83, is currently serving a sentence of three to 10 years after being convicted in a 2018 trial for drugs and rape of a friend at his home in 2004.
Trump reportedly struggled to form a defense ahead of his landmark trial, facing new hurdles days from the end.
But with just five Republicans joining the 50 Democrats this week in agreeing that the trial should take place, it seems unlikely that 17 Republicans will vote against Trump, the minimum number needed to reach the two-thirds sentencing threshold.