After a less than rousing performance by Trump’s legal team, the internet exploded with commentary and digs about the lackluster defense offered by the former President’s attorneys Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David I. Schoen.
Castor admitted the defense team was unprepared and caught off guard by the damning opening presentation of the House impeachment managers. But as he rattled on for north of 20 minutes, it appeared that he was either far more unprepared than letting on or that he was running out the clock of a game he had already won.
Last night on The Beat with Ari Melber, political strategist Chai Komanduri said, “The Trump team is treating it like a joke. They’re making rambling, incoherent arguments. They’re behaving, quite frankly, like mob lawyers who know they have the jury in their pocket.”
It is quite the analogy considering Castor is by all accounts a “mob lawyer;” having represented an interesting client base consisting of accused mobsters, murders and more during his tenure as a criminal defense lawyer. Most striking, though, is his past as the legal counsel in federal court for the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama in 2002 – successfully arguing that the Klan should be permitted to march during a protest while wearing their infamous white hoods without paying a fee.
Schoen, a Fox News regular, also comes from a background of representing folks accused of organized crime. Recent reporting from The Guardian indicates that Schoen is a Jeffrey Epstein death conspiracy theorist; apparently, Schoen is convinced that Epstein was murdered in his secured cell where he was alone.
Considering that both attorneys have decades of experience representing mobsters, their flippant performance yesterday could reasonably be seen as just checking a box, knowing that the jury was already bought and paid for.
In interviews since the closing of day one of the trial, Republican congressmen have admitted that the House impeachment managers made a superior argument; yet, all but six Republican senators still voted to not move forward with the trial.
Rick Ross once said, “Walkin’ in the courtroom sippin’ on a beverage. I know the judge so I got a lot of leverage.” This is not the type of attitude we should see in the Senate chamber during the most solemn duty of Congress. From Trump’s team, there was no sign that would indicate they viewed this with the gravity it deserves. By all appearances, they knew they had the jury on their side and did not feel they needed to overexert themselves.
So, which is it? Was the defense team incompetent or arrogant?