Trump hires South Carolina lawyer Bowers for impeachment defense
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[January 22, 2021]
By Steve Holland and Karen Freifeld
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President
Donald Trump has hired South Carolina-based lawyer Butch Bowers to
represent him in his Senate impeachment trial over a charge that he
incited insurrection, a source familiar with the matter said on
Bowers did not respond to requests for comment.
While relatively unknown on the national stage, Bowers has represented
former Republican governors in South Carolina and served in the U.S.
Justice Department under Republican former President George W. Bush,
according to his website.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Trump ally,
recommended him, the source said.
In 2012, Bowers represented then-Governor Nikki Haley in an ethics
hearing over allegations that she engaged in illegal lobbying while she
was a state representative. Haley was cleared of wrongdoing.
In 2009, Bowers represented then-Governor Mark Sanford in an ethics
hearing over his use of a state aircraft for a secret five-day trip to
Argentina to see a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.
Sanford agreed to pay $74,000 to settle charges that his personal travel
and campaign spending violated state ethics laws, but he continued to
Bowers, also known as Karl Smith Bowers Jr., is a graduate of Tulane
University's law school, has his own law firm and is associated with the
Miller Law Group. Bowers said on the group's website that he enjoyed
"bird hunting" and "good bourbon."
"Iíve always found him to be competent and ethical,Ē said South Carolina
lawyer Jay Bender, a Democrat who has known Bowers professionally for
over 20 years.
But he said Trump would not be his first controversial representation.
"I've found many of his clients to be objectionable," Bender said.
Trump's trial is likely to begin sometime around mid-February in order
to give Bowers time to prepare, Republican Senator Mike Braun told
reporters on Thursday.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives on Jan. 13 made Trump the
first U.S. president to be impeached twice, charging him with inciting
an insurrection, focused on an incendiary speech he delivered to
thousands of supporters on Jan. 6 shortly before a pro-Trump mob
rampaged through the U.S. Capitol.
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South Carolina Air National Guard Colonel Karl S. "Butch" Bowers,
Jr. poses in an undated photograph. USAF/Handout via REUTERS
The rioters disrupted the formal certification of Democrat Joe
Bidenís victory over Trump in the Nov. 3 election, sent lawmakers
into hiding and left five people dead, including a police officer.
Trump has falsely claimed the election was stolen from him as a
result of widespread fraud.
Trump appears to have had a difficult time retaining counsel for his
Earlier this month, Rudy Giuliani was poised to help defend the
president, people familiar with the matter said.
But in recent days, Giuliani said he would not do so, citing his
participation in the rally shortly before the attack on the Capitol.
Giuliani led the legal team that tried unsuccessfully to overturn
Trump's election defeat. The often chaotic effort further battered
the former New York City mayor's reputation.
John Eastman, a professor who represented Trump in his election
challenges at the U.S. Supreme Court last month, was also said to be
under consideration. He told Reuters last week he was open to
defending Trump, but this week said he was unlikely to do so, citing
his participation in the same rally.
Eastman said he was constrained by the bar code of the District of
Columbia. "A lawyer shouldn't be an advocate in a case in which he
is a witness," he said.
Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal lawyer
Jay Sekulow, who helped lead the defense in the first impeachment
trial in early 2020, were not expected to be involved, people
familiar with the situation have said.
Trump was first impeached by the House in late 2019 on a charge of
abusing his power by asking Ukraine's government to announce
investigations to discredit Biden. The then Republican-controlled
Senate acquitted him.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Karen Freifeld and Jan Wolfe; Writing
by Jan Wolfe and Noeleen Walder; Editing by Alistair Bell, Peter
Cooney and Grant NcCool)
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