Jan. 31 (UPI) — Former President Donald Trump has parted ways with several of the lawyers set to defend him in his impeachment trial with just more than a week before it is set to begin.
Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, a pair of South Carolina lawyers who were expected to lead Trump’s legal team for his second impeachment trial, departed the team in what a Trump adviser told CBS News was a mutual split.
In addition, attorneys Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, also from South Carolina and Josh Howard, of North Carolina were also no longer involved with the case, according to CNN which first reported the news.
The House impeached Trump for the second time on Jan. 13 in a 232-197 charging him with inciting an insurrection at the Capitol a week earlier as he called on his supporters to “fight like hell” as Congress confirmed President Joe Biden’s election win and hundreds of people stormed the Capitol building.
His trial in the Senate is set to begin on Feb. 9 and last week the Senate voted to table a measure by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., attempting to declare the trial unconstitutional as Trump is no longer in office.
In a tweet responding to the news that members of the legal team had departed on Saturday night, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said that the members of the former president’s legal team had not yet been finalized.
“The Democrats’ efforts to impeach a president who has already left office is totally unconstitutional and so bad for our country. In fact, 45 senators have already voted that it is unconstitutional. We have done much work, but have not made a final decision on our legal team, which will be made shortly,” he said.
Bowers previously worked in the Justice Department under former President George W. Bush, and Barbier was a federal prosecutor for 15 years before launching her own criminal defense firm.
Gasser and Harris served as federal prosecutors, and Howard was an associate independent counsel on the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations during Bill Clinton’s presidency in addition to working in the Justice Department.
Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani said he would not be a part of the former president’s impeachment team as he attended the Jan. 6 rally and “the rules of legal ethics would prohibit me from representing the president as trial counsel on the impeachment trial.”
Jay Sekulow and former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, who defended Trump in his first impeachment trial, are also not part of his legal team this time around.