Former President Donald Trump on Jan. 31 named two attorneys who will lead his impeachment defense legal team.
The two lawyers who will represent the former president in next week’s Senate trial are David Schoen, an attorney from Alabama, and Bruce Castor Jr., a former prosecutor in Pennsylvania.
The announcement follows media reports citing anonymous sources that said a group of attorneys from South Carolina were no longer participating in the defense.
South Carolina-based lawyer Butch Bowers had previously been tapped to lead the president’s legal team but parted ways over differing opinions on the direction of the defense arguments, the reports said. Other lawyers on the team who also reportedly exited were Deborah Barbier and former federal prosecutors Greg Harris, Johnny Gasser, and Josh Howard.
The lawyers didn’t immediately respond to requests by The Epoch Times to confirm their departures.
Jason Miller, a Trump adviser, confirmed the reports of a reshuffle on Jan. 30, saying that the “final decision on our legal team” hadn’t yet been made.
On Jan. 31, Trump’s office released a statement saying that Schoen and Castor would be leading the team, and that Schoen had already been working with Trump and other advisers in preparing for the trial.
“It is an honor to represent the 45th President, Donald J. Trump, and the United States Constitution,” Schoen said in the statement.
The new team has about a week to strategize what direction it will take in the defense. Opening arguments are scheduled to begin next week.
Republicans have begun uniting behind the argument that the Senate impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional, a question that has sparked heated debate among legal scholars and lawmakers.
“Dem. efforts to impeach a pres. who has already left office is unconstitutional & so bad for our country. In fact, 45 Senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional,” Miller wrote on Twitter.
On Jan. 26, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) raised a point of order on the Senate floor, forcing the chamber to take a stance on the constitutionality of the upcoming proceedings. The Senate ultimately voted 55–45, meaning that, while the trial will go ahead, it revealed that nearly half of the chamber believes the proceedings are unconstitutional.
Castor said the trial is expected to test the “strength of our Constitution.”
“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,” he said in the statement.
Castor previously served as a solicitor general and as acting attorney general of Pennsylvania.
The Democrat-controlled House on Jan. 13 voted 232–197 to impeach Trump on a single article of impeachment, alleging that the president incited an “insurrection” that caused the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6.
The impeachment, which was completed in a single seven-hour session, has been criticized by Republicans for its expediency and lack of due process.
Although Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is forging ahead with the trial, the 55–45 vote on Paul’s order could be an indication that a Trump conviction is unlikely, since a two-thirds majority is needed to convict.