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Meet Trump's Impeachment Defense Team

Bruce Castor is a member of Former President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team. He is seen in a 2015 photo in Norristown, Pa.
Bruce Castor is a member of Former President Donald Trump's impeachment defense team. He is seen in a 2015 photo in Norristown, Pa.

When former President Donald Trump's historic second Senate impeachment trial gets underway Tuesday, he'll be relying on a legal trio that was hastily thrust together a little more than a week ago.

Trump, who is facing a single article of impeachment, "incitement of insurrection" for the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol complex, is a notoriously difficult client and was left scrambling to secure representation after he and his previous legal team mutually agreed to part ways late last month.

Enter attorneys David Schoen, Bruce Castor Jr. and Michael van der Veen.

All are experienced in criminal defense proceedings. But unusually for an impeachment defense, none is known as a constitutional scholar.

Castor is a former Republican district attorney in Montgomery County, Pa., outside of Philadelphia. He also previously served as county commissioner.

As NPR Justice Correspondent Ryan Lucas points out, one notable item Castor is known for outside of Pennsylvania is his 2005 decision not to pursue the case against comedian Bill Cosby.

Cosby, who was once known as "America's Dad" for his portrayal of Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show, was later tried and convicted of sexual assault.

Attorney David Schoen (center) talks to reporters during a news conference in 2015 with the family of Jermaine McBean, who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy while carrying an air rifle, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Alan Diaz / AP
Attorney David Schoen (center) talks to reporters during a news conference in 2015 with the family of Jermaine McBean, who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy while carrying an air rifle, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Castor also hails from the same county as House impeachment manager Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Democrat.

Schoen is an Alabama-based lawyer who has tried cases in the South regarding police brutality and civil rights. He is a longtime legal commentator on television and for a time provided legal counsel for Roger Stone, a Trump confidante, when Stone was appealing a conviction for a slew of crimes that including lying to Congress under oath.

Before leaving office. Trump commuted Stone's sentence with a grant of clemency.

Schoen met with the disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein a few days before Epstein's death by suicide in federal prison. He's represented organized crime figures including some Russian mobsters.

The third attorney, van der Veen, has perhaps the lowest public profile of the team. He is a Philadelphia-based attorney specializing in personal injury and criminal defense. He touts his success in both civil and criminal cases, including securing "numerous seven-figure and eight-figure awards for victims," according to a biography on his law firm's website.

In a brief filed Monday, Trump's legal team characterized the Democratic-led effort to impeach and convict the former president as "Trump Derangement Syndrome."

It also urged the Senate to "reject this brazen political act."

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