Donald Trump‘s legal team defending him in his Senate impeachment trial includes the former prosecutor who granted Bill Cosby immunity for the testimony that ultimately led to the disgraced comedian’s conviction for sexual assault.
Bruce Castor was retained after Trump’s first set of impeachment lawyers quit because the former president wanted them to focus his defense on the election fraud conspiracy theories that he’s embraced and also fueled the attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol last month. The former Montgomery County district attorney in Pennsylvania decided against charging Cosby, a move that likely led to his losing bid for re-election that paved the way for his successor to not only change Cosby but also secure his conviction.
While the likelihood of Trump being convicted by the U.S. Senate appeared increasingly slim, his choice of legal representation could hint at what the ultimate outcome will be. The Senate trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 8.
Cosby has maintained that Castor in 2006 offered him immunity in exchange for the comedian’s testimony. Cosby’s lawyers have said that their client never would have testified had he known his words would be used against him in court, which they say amounts to a violation of his constitutional right against self-incrimination.
During a hearing in December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments over whether certain witnesses at trial that led to Cosby’s conviction for sexual assault should have been allowed to testify against him.
The 83-year-old has already served more than two of his three- to 10-year prison sentence after being convicted of sexual assault in 2018.
Cosby was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and groping Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in Elkins Park in 2004. He was sentenced following a guilty verdict during a re-trial after his first one ended in a mistrial in 2017.
Not to be outdone, the Washington Post reported that Trump’s other new defense attorney — David Schoen — has a similar blemish on his record: working as the lawyer for Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire accused pedophile who had ties to the country’s elite before his arrest and ultimate death by suicide in a New York City jail last year.
It was unclear whether Castor or Schoen will go along with Trump’s insistence to focus the former president’s defense on his persistent false claims of losing the 2020 election because of voter fraud.
A bipartisan coalition in the U.S. House of Representatives voted last month to impeach Trump for a single charge of incitement of insurrection stemming from the deadly violence by a mob of his supporters at the U.S. Capitol. It was the first time a sitting president has ever been impeached twice while in office.
While the House delivered that article of impeachment to Senate, there is no guarantee Trump will be convicted in the trial that requires two-thirds of the Senate to decide the verdict.