President Trump has named Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz to the legal team that will defend him during the Senate impeachment trial. Both lawyers previously represented billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and Dershowitz served on O.J. Simpson’s defense team during the former football player’s 1995 murder trial. They’ll now defend the president against accusations of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress in the long-awaited Senate trial, slated to begin next Tuesday.
Starr, best known for leading the investigation that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, and Dershowitz, a constitutional lawyer-turned-pariah of the Martha’s Vineyard elite, both regularly appear on Fox News to defend the president as he stumbles through various legal quagmires, which could at least partially explain the move. Evidently of little concern to Trump was the role they played in getting Epstein a lenient plea deal after he was charged with sex trafficking in 2008, or Dershowitz’s deeper ties to the high-society financier and prolific sex predator who died in prison last August while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Though it was reported Dershowitz would join Trump’s defense team, he called this an “overstatement” Friday afternoon on The Dan Abrams Show. “I was asked to present my constitutional argument against impeachment,” Dershowitz said. “I will be there for one hour, basically, presenting my argument. But I’m not a full-fledged member of the defense team in any realistic sense of that term.”
Trump’s indifference to Starr and Dershowitz’s ties to Epstein isn’t surprising. Alex Acosta, the former U.S. attorney in Florida who ultimately cut the deal that left Epstein with a 13-month stay in a cushy county jail, despite having identified at least 36 victims of his sexual misconduct, stepped down as Trump’s labor secretary after Epstein was arrested again last year, a resignation Trump seemed to accept only begrudgingly. “Until this came up, there was never an ounce of problem with this very good man,” the president said of Acosta.
Robert Ray, who took Starr’s place at the Office of Independent Counsel and wrote the final report on Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, was also added to Trump’s defense team. Starr, Dershowitz, and Ray will join White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow, who will lead the team. Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and longtime personal attorney Jane Raskin will also help defend the president in the Senate.
According to Media Matters, those currently on Trump’s impeachment defense team have appeared on Fox News more than 350 times in the past year.
This post has been updated.