Donald Trump is an attorney’s worst nightmare: a client who thinks he knows better than his lawyer and doesn’t pay his bills to boot.
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So, when five prominent attorneys who were planning on representing Trump in his impeachment trial withdrew from the case over the weekend – reportedly because of their refusal to use the disgraced president’s preferred defense, namely his continued “big lie” that the election was stolen from him through massive fraud – many people thought that Trump would be forced to represent himself as his trial opens next week.
While the prospect of that 3-ring circus temporarily tantalized the public consciousness, by Sunday evening somehow the beleaguered ex-president had found replacements for the scurrying rats fleeing his sinking impeachment ship.
The announcement of the new legal team naturally raised the question of exactly what type of person, knowing of their prospective client’s less-than-impeccable reputation in litigation matters, would agree to take on this ignominious representation task.
As it turns out, the new lawyers bring some considerable baggage to the table themselves.
Take Bruce L. Castor Jr.
Castor is a former district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania who lost his bid to return to that post in 2015 after several years’ absence largely because of his previous failure to prosecute Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges, a decision that was reversed by the man who defeated him.
He faced the scorn of many when, after his defeat, Castor unsuccessfully sued one of the victims of Cosby’s sexual assaults for defamation, blaming her for his defeat in the contest.
Not exactly a paragon of virtue in the eyes of judgmental observers, but seemingly exactly the type of person who could ignore the larger issues of sedition to argue on Trump’s behalf.
Joining Castor on the impeachment defense team will be David Schoen, who has previously represented several of Trump’s friends and associates, including political dirty-trickster, the recently pardoned Roger Stone, and Jeffrey Epstein — another client whose personal behavior was as odious as the former president’s and whose death Schoen believes was caused by murder rather than the reported suicide.
Despite the insider scuttlebutt that Trump’s last set of attorneys departed because of his insistence on using the election fraud defense to continue to claim that he really was the legitimate winner of the election, the new legal team suggested that they would avoid that strategy in defending the ex-president against the charges of inciting an insurrection and instead focus on the constitutionality of the impeachment of a former president once he’s left office.
Schoen additionally said that he wants to focus on attacking the “weaponization of the impeachment process.”
“I am not a person who will put forward a theory of election fraud,” Schoen told The Washington Post late Sunday night. “That’s not what this impeachment trial is about.”
“I’ve done constitutional litigation my entire career, and I think this case raised important constitutional questions,” Schoen told The Post. “I do feel honored to represent the [former] president of the United States and the Constitution.”
With only a week to prepare before the impeachment trial begins, Trump’s new legal team has their work cut out for them.
Their job, however, will be made much simpler by the fact that the vast majority of the Republican senators who will comprise 50% of the jurors in the trial have already telegraphed their opinions on the constitutionality of impeaching a president who no longer holds office by their losing votes against holding an impeachment trial at all.
It will be interesting to see how these members of the GOP will vote once the Democratic impeachment managers present their evidence that the Capitol insurrection may have been deliberately planned and incited by the Trump administration.
The idea that Trump could walk away from the impeachment without facing accountability for his likely seditious behavior rankles the minds of anyone who values justice.
Any Republican senator who votes to acquit Trump deserves to have their vote hanging around their necks like a dead albatross for the rest of their political careers.
Original reporting by Katie Shepherd at The Washington Post.
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