Trump shuffles impeachment defense before Senate trial

By Ovunc Kutlu

ANKARA (AA) – Donald Trump has shuffled members of his impeachment defense team on Sunday, days before the US Senate trial is set to begin.

The former US president saw South Carolina lawyers Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, and former federal prosecutors Greg Harris, Johnny Gasser, and Josh Howard leave his defense team on Saturday, according to local reports.

While it was a mutual decision, the individuals had a difference of opinion on the direction of the defense's argument, Fox News said.

The 45th president will now be represented by criminal defense trial lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor, Jr. as Trump faces charges that he incited the riots in Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 that left five people dead.

Castor, the former Pennsylvania district attorney, declined in 2005 to prosecute actor and comedian Bill Cosby, who was convicted for sexual assault charges a year before. Cosby is currently incarcerated in the state of Pennsylvania.

Schoen, a civil and criminal defense lawyer who has offices in New York and Alabama, made headlines after meeting with accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein before his death in a New York prison.

Trump became the only president in the US history to be impeached twice after the House of Representatives on Jan. 13 voted to charge him with "incitement of insurrection."

Trump's new lawyers have until Tuesday to respond to the article of impeachment passed by the House, while his trial in the Senate is set for Feb. 9.