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Law & the Courts

Trump Adds Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz to Impeachment Trial Defense Team

Attorney Kenneth Starr speaks during arguments before the California Supreme Court. March 5, 2009. (Paul Sakuma/Reuters)

President Trump has added attorneys Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz to his defense team ahead of the impeachment trial proceedings.

Starr led the impeachment prosecution against Bill Clinton. Starr and Dershowitz will be joined by attorney Robert Ray, and will work with White House counsel Pat Cipillone and Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow.

Dershowitz “is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent,” a spokesman for Trump’s legal team said in a statement.

“While Professor Dershowitz is nonpartisan when it comes to the Constitution — he opposed the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and voted for Hillary Clinton — he believes the issues at stake go to the heart of our enduring Constitution,” the statement continued.

White House officials told Axios that they had hoped Trump would not choose Dershowitz because of the attorney’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein. The convicted sex offender employed Dershowitz as his lawyer for years.

The legal defense team will face off against House lawmakers named as impeachment managers, essentially acting as the prosecution. Those lawmakers include head manager Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a major player in the House impeachment inquiry, and Zoe Lofgren (D., Calif.), the only lawmaker to have participated in all three modern presidential impeachment proceedings.

The outline of the impeachment trial is still unclear. The President is pushing for a speedy trial that will not call witnesses to testify, however moderate Republicans may join with Democrats to summon witnesses. Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.), a staunch supporter of Trump regarding impeachment, warned fellow Republicans that a vote to allow witnesses would be “voting to lose your election.”

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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