Donald Trump's Defense Team Leaves Days Before Trial (UPDATE)

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Image via Getty/MANDEL NGAN/AFP

UPDATED 01/31/21 7:00 p.m. ET: : Donald Trump has announced his new defense team. The former president will be represented in his impeachment trial by attorneys Bruce L. Castor, Jr. and David Schoen, according to a press release shared by CNN's Jim Acosta.

Castor called the opportunity to represent the twice-impeached executive a "privilege."

"The strength of our Constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history. It is strong and resilient," he said. "A document written for the ages, and it will triumph over partisanship yet again, and always."

The two men are no strangers to controversial cases. Castor is perhaps most famous for his decision not to prosecute Bill Cosby on sexual assault charges in 2005. Then the district attorney of Montgomery County in Pennsylvania, Castor declined to bring Cosby up on the charges, citing a lack of physical evidence. When a wave of allegations came to light in 2014, Castor's political opponents used his decision to keep him from winning re-election to the position.

Schoen is most notable for defending political consultant Roger Stone in his trial for perjury and witness intimidation. Stone had misled congressional representatives during their investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. He had also threatened a witness who he believed might tell the truth when called to testify. Schoen ultimately lost this case, but Stone's sentence was commuted by the president before he began serving time. He also once said he doesn't believe Jeffrey Epstein kills himself.

Original story below.

Donald Trump's 2021 days just keep getting worse.

CNN reported on Sunday that the former President's five impeachment defense attorneys have left the case with just a little over a week before the trial is set to begin. According to people familiar with the case, the attorneys decided to step away due to the way Trump wanted to approach the trial.

Trump reportedly wanted to argue that there was mass election fraud and that the election was stolen from him. His attorneys wanted to focus on the legality of convicting/impeaching a President once he has left office. Trump didn't seem receptive to this advice, forcing his legal team to disband.

The two lead attorneys, Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, initially retreated. With Bowers being the lawyer who helped assemble the defense, the rest of the team swiftly followed his lead. The attorney had not received any payment for their assumed work on trial or signed a letter of intent. This allowed them to make a clean break from Trump.

Now, with the trial quickly approaching, Trump is scrambling to put together a defense team that will follow his lead. Yet, no other attorneys have announced they are working on Trump's impeachment defense. Still, Trump's associates believe that he will be able to make his case against the impeachment.

"The Democrats' efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country," former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller told CNN. "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."

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