One of former President Donald Trump’s new impeachment defense lawyers is a former district attorney from Pennsylvania who declined to charge Bill Cosby with sexual assault.
Bruce L. Castor Jr., who was hired by Trump over the weekend to represent him in his upcoming Senate trial, served as the top prosecutor in Montgomery County from 2000 to 2008. In 2005, Andrea Constand reported that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted her the previous year. But Castor declined to pursue criminal charges against Cosby.
In 2014, after more than a dozen Cosby accusers came forward, Castor defended his decision to not pursue a criminal case, suggesting there were inconsistencies in Constand’s account. (He said he thought Constand was “probably the victim of a sexual assault,” but that “‘probably’ does not win criminal trials.”)
The following year, when Castor was running to return as Montgomery district attorney, Constand sued Castor for defamation, making Castor’s handling of the Cosby case a key issue in the election.
Castor lost to Kevin Steele, a Democrat.
Castor, in turn, sued Constand, alleging her suit sabotaged his election chances; the suit was dismissed in 2018, days before Constand testified in Cosby’s criminal trial.
Constand and Castor settled her defamation claim in 2019.
Steele pursued and won a conviction of Cosby, who was sentenced to serve three to 10 years in prison in 2018.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that Castor and David Schoen were hired by Trump after the former president’s previous legal team, led by Karl “Butch” Bowers, abruptly parted ways with him over his insistence the 2020 election was “stolen.”
According to the report, Trump wanted them to make the case during the impeachment trial that he actually won the election.
Schoen, a Long Island, N.Y., defense attorney whose previous clients include Roger Stone, had met with Jeffrey Epstein, reportedly to discuss taking on Epstein’s defense against accusations of sexually abusing dozens of girls. Days later, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell. His death was ruled a suicide.
Schoen has promoted a conspiracy theory that Epstein may have been murdered.
In 2007, Epstein quietly cut a “non-prosecution agreement” agreement with Alexander Acosta, then the U.S. attorney in Florida, avoiding federal charges in a related case involving the sex trafficking of underaged girls.
Acosta, who became Trump’s labor secretary, resigned in 2019 amid the fallout over his sweetheart deal with Epstein after it was revealed by the Miami Herald.
Trump’s impeachment trial is set to begin on Feb. 9.
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Originally published February 1, 2021, 12:33 PM