Donald Trump’s Defense Team in Senate Trial Will Include Special Prosecutors from Bill Clinton’s Impeachment
Special prosecutors from President Bill Clinton’s impeachment will be included in President Donald Trump’s defense team in his Senate trial.
President Trump will be represented by Ken Starr and Robert Ray, who investigated President Clinton, and Alan Dershowitz, whose past clients include OJ Simpson.
White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow will lead the team.
Opening statements in the Trump impeachment trial will begin on January 21.
Ken Starr was the DoJ independent counsel who investigated the Whitewater affair, a scandal-plagued mid-1980s land venture in Arkansas involving Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The inquiry ultimately uncovered unrelated evidence that President Clinton had been having an affair with a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.
The investigation culminated in the Democratic president’s impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1998. Bill Clinton was acquitted by the Senate.
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Robert Ray succeeded Ken Starr as the independent counsel.
Monica Lewinsky tweeted on January 17 shortly after President Trump’s team was announced: “This is definitely an ‘are you kidding me?’ kinda day.”
In 2016, Ken Starr was forced out of his position as president of Baylor University after an inquiry found the school had mishandled rape accusations against its football players.
He later also resigned from his roles as chancellor and law professor at the university.
Alan Dershowitz is a retired Harvard University law professor and constitutional law expert whose past celebrity clients have also included boxer Mike Tyson.
He said in a statement that he had also opposed Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
Donald Trump sought Alan Dershowitz’s advice, too, during the 2017-2019 special counsel investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election.
Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr both represented disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein during his 2008 abuse trial.
On January 17, President Trump shared Alan Dershowitz’s comments criticizing a Government Accountability Office ruling that the White House had broken the law by withholding aid to Ukraine.
Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has also been asked to join the team.
Pam Bondi, a longtime Trump ally, joined the White House communications team last November to focus on “proactive impeachment messaging”.
Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a central figure in the Ukraine investigation, had also hoped to join the defense, but he did not make the cut.
Rudy Giuliani told CBS he might be called as a witness in the impeachment trial and “understood this may happen if I uncovered the 2016 Ukrainian corruption”.
The former NYC mayor was apparently referring to a discredited theory that Ukraine intervened in the last White House election.
One of Rudy Giuliani’s associates, Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, has said he went to Ukraine to pressure local officials on behalf of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani.
President Trump’s allies have rubbished Lev Parnas’ claims, pointing out that he is facing unrelated campaign finance charges.
Last month, Donald Trump was impeached by the House on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Democrats have accused the president of withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure the country into investigating his political rival, former VP Joe Biden. President Trump denies the claims, and calls the impeachment proceedings a partisan “hoax”.