Trump announces legal team after high-profile departures

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Former President Trump said Sunday that he has selected a legal team, according to his office, less than 24 hours after several members of his legal team parted ways with the former president. Mr. Trump’s Senate impeachment trial is set to begin on February 9.

Lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. will represent Mr. Trump, the office said. Schoen is a Montgomery, Alabama, trial lawyer and Castor is a former Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, district attorney.

The news comes after Trump adviser Jason Miller confirmed on Saturday night that South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers, who was expected to be the lead attorney, and Deborah Barbier are no longer part of his team. A Trump adviser said the departures were mutual.

In a statement on Sunday, Mr. Trump said the new lawyers will bring “national profiles and significant trial experience in high-profile cases to the effort.” The statement said both lawyers believe the case against Mr. Trump is unconstitutional. 

CNN, which was first to report on the shakeup on the legal team, reported on Saturday night that five of Mr. Trump’s attorneys had left the legal team.

Senate prepares for Trump impeachment trial 05:05

Mr. Trump was impeached by the House on January 13 on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.” One week earlier, Mr. Trump had encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell” to stop Congress from counting the Electoral College votes, the final step in affirming President Biden’s victory. A mob of his supporters then stormed the U.S. Capitol, sending lawmakers fleeing and delaying the count for nearly six hours. Five people died in the melee. 

Mr. Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was a public figure in the former president’s fruitless battle to overturn the election results, said he would not be part of Mr. Trump’s impeachment legal team because he was at the rally. “Due to the fact that I may be a witness, the rules of legal ethics would prohibit me from representing the president as trial counsel in the impeachment trial,” Giuliani told CBS News on January 18.

Mr. Trump’s star lawyers from his first impeachment trial, including Mr. Trump’s longtime attorney Jay Sekulow and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, are not defending him this time. Cipollone, in particular, was one of the White House officials who a group of Republican senators called in the aftermath of the assault to convince them to stay on until Mr. Trump left office, an aide to Senator Mike Lee said on January 7.

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