Bruce Castor and David Schoen: who are the lawyers representing Donald Trump at his impeachment trial

Bruce Castor’s opening speech has been lambasted by Trump allies and critics

Bruce Castor is one-half of Trump's unorthodox legal team (Getty Images)

David Schoen and Bruce Castor are participating in the trial of their lifetimes this week.

The pair are defending Donald Trump in front of the US Senate at the former president's second impeachment trial.

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The duo who have never worked together were hastily brought together after Mr Trump’s previous legal team disintegrated just day’s before the trial’s beginning.

They face the unenviable task of defending the president against a charge of inciting insurrection in front of a worldwide audience of millions with just days to prepare.

And already they are facing criticism.

Why is Bruce Castor being criticised?

Castor has been ridiculed for his opening remarks at the impeachment trial.

In a meandering speech he said that Donald Trump’s behaviour was more akin to manslaughter than murder.

He concluded by suggesting that the US justice department have grounds to arrest Trump if the impeachment allegations are true.

He said: "A high crime is a felony, and a misdemeanour is a misdemeanour. After he's out of office, you go and arrest him. The Department of Justice does know what to do with such people. And so far, I haven't seen any activity in that direction."

Who is David Schoen?

David I Schoen is a Alabama-based civil rights and criminal defense lawyer with a reputation for taking on complex cases, often representing unpopular clients

Schoen, 62, boasts decades of experience since he graduated from Boston College Law School.

He has worked on a number of civil rights cases in the south of the United States, focusing on issues ranging from police and prison violence and ballot access.

According to the New York Times he challenged changes to Alabama’s foster care system which led to improvements. He also represented the Ku Klux Klan challenging a law which forbid members from marching while wearing hoods.

In his eclectic career he has represented gang members, rapists and killers.

Who is Bruce Castor?

Bruce Castor is cut from a different cloth to Schoen.

He graduated from George Washington University and served two terms as a district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Castor then took on the role of solicitor general for Pennsylvania.

He would then begin life as a criminal defence lawyer.

As district attorney Mr Castor chose not to prosecute Bill Cosby in 2005 after an employee at a Philadelphia University alleged that the comedian had drugged and sexually assaulted her.

Mr Cosby was convicted in 2018, while the employee sued Castor for defamation in a case which was settled out of court.

How are they defending Trump

The duo argued that the trial was void as Trump no longer held office.

Responding to the briefing laid out by Democrat lawmakers they said “the constitutional provision requires that a person actually hold office to be impeached.”

They reject that their client “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States," and deny that he violated his oath of office.

They said: “To the contrary, at all times, Donald J. Trump fully and faithfully executed his duties as President”.

The pair also appear to go along with the president’s unfounded claims of election fraud, stating: “under the convenient guise of Covid-19 pandemic ‘safeguards’ states election laws and procedures were changed by local politicians or judges without the necessary approvals from state legislatures. Insufficient evidence exists upon which a reasonable jurist could conclude that the 45th President’s statements were accurate or not, and he therefore denies they were false".