The two attorneys who will lead former President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense legal team, David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr., are expected to argue that the Senate impeachment trial of the former president is unconstitutional.
Trump on Jan. 31 announced that Alabama attorney Schoen and Castor, a former prosecutor in Pennsylvania, will represent him in next week’s Senate trial, following media reports citing anonymous sources that said a group of attorneys from South Carolina were no longer participating in the defense.
“Schoen has already been working with the 45th president and other advisers to prepare for the upcoming trial, and both Schoen and Castor agree that this impeachment is unconstitutional—a fact 45 senators voted in agreement with last week,” a press release stated.
Schoen, a solo practitioner who has law offices in New York and Montgomery, Alabama, was personally called by Trump to head his impeachment defense legal team for the trial scheduled for the week of Feb. 8.
“I was flattered he asked me and I’m honored to represent him,” Schoen told AJC.
He separately told The Washington Post on Jan. 31 that he plans to focus on the “weaponization of the impeachment process” and on how it’s unconstitutional to impeach a president once he’s no longer in office.
According to his website, he “focuses primarily on the litigation of complex civil and criminal cases before trial and appellate courts” and only accepts a few cases each year.
Schoen, with over three decades in practice, is chair of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Civil Rights Litigation Committee.
He was part of the legal defense team for Trump ally Roger Stone in the appeal of his conviction related to issues he took with the jury. Stone’s sentence was commuted by Trump, and he was then pardoned. Schoen told the Atlanta Jewish Times last year the case against Stone was “very unfair and politicized.”
The Atlanta-based attorney also told several media outlets that he had met disgraced financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein in prison days before his death, and said he didn’t believe Epstein committed suicide but rather was murdered.
“I saw him a few days earlier,” Schoen previously told Fox News. “The reason I say I don’t believe it was suicide is for my interaction with him that day. The purpose of asking me to come there that day and over the past previous couple of weeks was to ask me to take over his defense.”
Castor meanwhile unsuccessfully ran for Pennsylvania attorney general in 2004, and has practiced civil litigation for more than 10 years. He served as district attorney for Montgomery County, outside of Philadelphia, from 2000 to 2008.
“I consider it a privilege to represent the 45th president,” Castor said in a statement on Jan. 31. “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.”
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.
“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.
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 the chamber believes the proceedings are unconstitutional.
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.
Janita Kan contributed to this report.