Washington – Less than two weeks before his second impeachment trial, former President Donald Trump split from two key members of his legal team. Attorney in South CarolinaDeborah Barbier, who was expected as principal attorney, and Deborah Barbier are no longer on his team, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said on Saturday night.
“The Democrats’ efforts to indict a president who has already resigned are utterly unconstitutional and so bad for our country. In fact, 45 senators have already voted for it to be unconstitutional. We have done a lot of work, but no final decision met on our legal team that will be created shortly, “Miller said.
A Trump adviser told CBS News the decision was mutual. CBS News approached Bowers and Barber for comment.
CNN, which first covered the news, also said three other lawyers have left the legal team.
The second impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump are due to begin on February 9. The House charged Mr. Trump on January 13 with “inciting insurrection”. A week earlier, Mr. Trump had encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell” to prevent Congress from counting the votes of the electoral college. This was the final step in confirming President Biden’s victory. A crowd of his supporters then stormed the US Capitol, forced the legislature to flee and delayed the count by almost six hours. Five people died in hand-to-hand combat.
Mr. Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was a public figure in the former president’s fruitless struggle to reverse election results, said he would not be part of the legal team for Mr. Trump’s impeachment for attending the rally. “Due to the fact that I may be a witness, the rules of legal ethics would prevent me from representing the president as attorney in impeachment,” Giuliani told CBS News on January 18.
Mr. Trump’s star attorneys from his first impeachment trial, including Mr. Trump’s longtime attorney Jay Sekulow and former White House attorney Pat Cipollone, are not defending him this time around. In particular, Cipollone was one of the White House officials who called a group of Republican Senators after the attack to persuade them to stay until Trump left office, an aide to Senator Mike Lee said Jan. 7.
When asked who would represent Mr. Trump, Miller said the team will likely make an announcement “in the next few days.”
Senator Lindsey Graham announced last week that Bowers, a powerful lawyer from Colombia with an impressive record of defending Republican politicians, would be the “main anchor” on Mr. Trump’s defense team. Miller confirmed that Bowers would join the team in a tweet on Jan. 21.
Bowers represented former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford when lawmakers considered indicting him after admitting lying to aides while hiking the Appalachian Trail when he was actually in Argentina with his mistress. Instead, Sanford was ultimately censored.
Bowers also represented Trump’s ally Nikki Haley when she was charged with illegal ethics lobbying while she was still in the South Carolina legislature. Haley was cleared up in this investigation.
Bowers is a respected member of both the South Carolina Bar and the District of Columbia Bar, according to their records. Bowers previously told the South Carolina Post and Courier that he was looking forward to “representing the former president.”
Barbier, who runs a small company in Colombia, joined the legal team earlier this week, according to the South Carolina Post-Courier. In what is perhaps the most famous case, barber defended Joey Meeks, a friend of Emanuel AME shooter Dylann Roof. Meeks, who pleaded guilty to telling others not to share with authorities that Roof was behind the massacre, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, according to the Post-Courier.
Barbier also defended a powerful South Carolina political activist who was charged with conspiracy and illegal lobbying at the Statehouse in 2017, the Post-Courier reported. That case was eventually dropped.
Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.