POLITICS

Trump Taps Lawyer Dershowitz, Others For Impeachment Trial Defense

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow will lead the team.

WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Former independent counsel Ken Starr, who paved the way for the impeachment of Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1998, and prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz will join President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial defense team, Trump’s legal team and a source said on Friday.

The team will be led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump private attorney Jay Sekulow. Trump adviser Pam Bondi and former independent counsel Robert Ray will also be on the team, according to the source who is familiar with the team’s composition.

The House voted to impeach Clinton after Starr investigated his sexual affair with a White House intern. The Senate acquitted Clinton.

Dershowitz has been a well-known figure in U.S. legal circles for decades. He is a Harvard Law School professor and was part of the so-called “Dream Team” of lawyers who won a 1995 acquittal of former National Football League star and actor O.J. Simpson on charges of murdering his wife and a friend of hers.

Trump’s legal team issued a statement saying Dershowitz will present oral arguments at the trial to address the constitutional arguments against impeachment and removal from office.

“While Professor Dershowitz is non partisan when it comes to the constitution - he opposed the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and voted for Hillary Clinton - he believes the issues at stake go to the heart of our enduring Constitution,” the Trump legal team said. “He is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent.”

(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Karen Freifeld and Tim Ahmann; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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