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 Thursday.
The development was first reported by Punchbowl News. Bowers did not immediately respond to a request 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.
Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina politician and a Democrat, said on Twitter that Bowers is a “very good” lawyer.
The 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.
The rioters disrupted the formal certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s 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 by widespread fraud.
A Senate impeachment trial could begin next week.
A source familiar with the planning told Reuters the House could transmit the article of impeachment as early as Friday and No. 2 Senate Democrat Dick Durbin said he expected it “in a day or two.”
Trump had a difficult time retaining counsel for the impeachment defense.
Earlier this month, Rudy Giuliani appeared poised to help defend the president, people familiar with the matter said.
But in recent days, Giuliani said he would not, citing his participation in the rally shortly before the attack on the Capitol.
John Eastman, a law professor who represented Trump in his election challenges at the U.S. Supreme Court last month and was under consideration to do so in his upcoming impeachment trial, also said this week he was unlikely to defend Trump, citing his participation in the same rally.
Eastman, who told Reuters last week he was open to representing Trump, 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, according to people familiar with the situation.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Karen Freifeld and Jan Wolfe; Editing by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney)