Former President Donald Trump’s office announced Sunday evening that lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr. will represent him at his Senate impeachment trial. Trump’s previous team of five lawyers, led by Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, had parted ways with Trump on Saturday, and he faces a Tuesday deadline to file a response to the House’s impeachment charge that he incited an insurrection.
Castor, a former district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, famously declined to charge Bill Cosby with sexual assault in 2006. Schoen, a defense lawyer based in Atlanta, told The Atlanta Jewish Times in September that he has “represented all sorts of reputed mobster figures: alleged head of Russian mafia in this country, Israeli mafia and two Italian bosses, as well a guy the government claimed was the biggest mafioso in the world.” He also met with accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein in jail shortly before his death in 2019 and has said he believes the disgraced financier, who committed suicide, was murdered.
I asked one of Donald Trump’s former lawyers for a reaction to his new impeachment legal team.
“Should be a circus.”
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) February 1, 2021
Trump and his previous legal team reportedly disagreed on strategy for his Senate trial, with Trump wanting his lawyers to litigate his false claims that the election was stolen from him and the lawyers refusing, wanting to focus instead on the argument that it’s unconstitutional to convict a former president in an impeachment trial. Sunday’s news release said “both Schoen and Castor agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional.” But it also described Trump as “45th President Donald J. Trump,” not “former president,” which The New York Times calls “a notable choice given Mr. Trump’s repeated refusal to concede.”
Hopefully the change in legal teams will “force the president now to turn to a better strategy” and save himself “from self-immolation” by litigating his election fraud conspiracies, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who generally backs Trump but declined an offer to represent him at his Senate trial, told The Washington Post.