Trump impeachment lawyer Bruce Castor has said that he first spoke to the former president in January and that they have never met in person. “I don’t have the time to fly to Florida,” Mr Castor told The Washington Post.
While the Republican lawyer rarely spoke of Mr Trump while he was in the White House, he did vote for him. Discussing the phone calls he had had with the former president, he said that Mr Trump was “the nicest guy in the world”.
“I don’t understand what people say about him. It’s beyond me. My interactions with him have been delightful. He’s a charming fellow,” he told The Washington Post.
Mr Castor’s cousin Stephen Castor worked as a House Republican staff attorney during Mr Trump’s first impeachment and asked Bruce Castor if he was interested in the job of defending Mr Trump in his second impeachment trial.
Mr Castor said that his speciality is cases concerning medical malpractice, personal injury and “people falsely accused in Me Too cases where their reputations were ruined”.
Mr Castor declined to prosecute Bill Cosby, who was later convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand. At least 60 women have accused Mr Cosby of sexual harassment or assault. Mr Castor later also fought the prosecution of Mr Cosby, who is now serving a prison sentence between three and 10 years.
Despite the insistence of Mr Trump, Mr Castor said they would not be including election fraud allegations in their arguments for Mr Trump’s acquittal.
Mr Castor said: “The president and the guys around him had plenty of opportunity to pressure me into using an election fraud defence … The case is a winner. Why would I inject a problem?”
The main argument they will employ is that holding the trial makes no sense because Mr Trump has already left the presidency. “If you take the Democrats’ argument to its logical conclusion, you could be dead and you could still be impeached. You could impeach Abraham Lincoln or George Washington or Bill Clinton, anyone. The Senate could be doing this from now until the end of time,” Mr Castor said.
The Democrats’ impeachment briefing argues that the Constitution “overwhelmingly demonstrate that a former official remains subject to trial and conviction”.
Mr Castor said he would handle “the overall presentation and strategy … I will be asking the bulk of the questions,” during the trial.
Mr Trump’s legal team in his first impeachment trial included Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Bill Clinton, and Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz. Mr Castor said that he’s “not Ken Starr or Alan Dershowitz. You’re not going to get a law professor’s explanation. I’m a guy who gets up in court and talks.”
Mr Trump’s lawyers will argue against the nine House impeachment managers led by Maryland Representative and constitutional scholar Jamie Raskin, who will be supported by House Judiciary staff lawyers, trial lawyer Barry Berke, and law firm Debevoise & Plimpton.
Mr Castor said: “I know it looks like David and Goliath. But you can stack the deck as much as you want on the other side, that still does not connect Donald Trump to the activities of the mob on January 6.”
He said that he thinks that the trial “will move fast unless we get bogged down with everyone wanting to ask questions”.
He added: “We’re not fighting for airtime. There’s no incentive for me to grandstand … I need to address the job at hand, get it done and go home.”