With two weeks remaining, former President Donald Trump’s impeachment case just got new players. With his previous legal team exiting, he announced a new team to help defend him on his second Senate trial. Lawyers David Schoen and Bruce Castor will lead Trump’s defense team. After a mutual decision to part ways, former team lawyers Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier is stepping down. Lawyers Joshua Howard, Johnny Gasser, and Greg Harris are also no longer involving themselves in the case.
A native of South Carolina, Bowers worked in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush. Meanwhile, Barbier, also from South Carolina, served as a federal prosecutor for 15 years. Also, she worked on several high-profile cases before opening up her own boutique criminal defense firm.
Castor and Schoen
Bruce Castor, a former Pennsylvania district attorney, became famous for his refusal to prosecute actor Bill Cosby in 2005. The accuser, Andrea Constand won her sexual assault case against Cosby using a different prosecutor. Meanwhile, Schoen is a civil and criminal defense lawyer with practices in Alabama and New York.
The office of the former president gave a statement about the new team. It stated that Schoen already made preparations with other advisers for the trial. Both Castor and Schoen believe that Trump’s impeachment case is unconstitutional. Currently, Trump’s office has yet to disclose if there are other attorneys working on Trump’s impeachment case. However, sources say that another round of additions to the team will happen in a few days.
Last week, the House of Representatives delivered its article of impeachment to the Senate. It charged Trump with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the January 6 riots at the US Capitol. The Senate scheduled the trial to start next week February 8. Two-thirds of the Senate — or 67 senators — will have to convict Trump to impeach him. This means 17 GOP senators need to join the Democrats in voting for guilty.
Also, Trump’s statement reiterated that 45 Republican senators voted Tuesday backing the opinion that the case is unconstitutional. On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) insisted that the former president take responsibility for his actions. He said that Trump did “the most despicable thing any president has ever done,” and should face accountability.
According to a person familiar with the change in legal teams, Trump wanted the attorneys to argue about election fraud instead of focusing on the unconstitutionality of the charges. Reportedly, the former president wasn’t keen on pointing on the fact he already left the office. With the impasse over the direction, the former lawyers made a mutual decision to leave the case.
“The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country. In fact, 45 Senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional. We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly,” former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said on CNN.
Attorneys who previously defended Trump during his last impeachment case already declined. This includes the top lawyer during Trump’s first impeachment case, Jay Sekulow. In addition, personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani also said he will not represent Trump. Giuliani joined Trump during the January 6 rally that preceded the Capitol riots.
Watch the CBS video report on Trump’s new legal team handling his impeachment case:
Do you agree with Trump’s strategy to focus on election fraud? Or, do you think that Trump’s impeachment case should focus on the unconstitutionality of the impeachment? Let us know what you think should be the focus moving forward. Share with us your ideas by leaving your comments below.