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Meet Trump’s Star-Studded Impeachment Defense Team


President Donald Trump’s legal team for
his Senate impeachment trial will include a pair of well-known attorneys who have vigorously
defended Trump on television and played roles in some of the most consequential legal dramas
in recent history. Among those joining White House counsel Pat
Cipollone and longtime Trump attorney Jay Sekulow on the defense team will be former
Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, the independent counsel who
investigated former President Bill Clinton. A look at who’s who: PAT CIPOLLONE
The current White House counsel, Cipollone is an unassuming and private figure who built
a career around complex litigation. While he doesn’t have extensive trial experience,
he has worked on numerous high-profile cases, including the lawsuit against credit reporting
company Equifax after a massive data breach. He also defended the University of Virginia
student who claimed she was the victim of a gang rape at a fraternity house and was
featured in a 2014 Rolling Stone article that was later retracted. In the White House, he has forcefully defended
Trump’s right to executive privilege and argued that congressional investigators have
no right to question White House staffers about their conversations with the president. JAY SEKULOW Well known in conservative circles, Sekulow
is one of the president’s personal lawyers, having represented him during former special
counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The host of a radio and TV talk show, Sekulow
has extensive media experience. He has argued before the Supreme Court on
at least a dozen occasions, including landmark cases on religious liberty. As chief counsel at the American Center for
Law and Justice, Sekulow has also represented Trump in his fight to prevent the release
of his tax returns. ALAN DERSHOWITZ
RELATED: Federal Judge Refuses To Call Convicted Sex Offender by Preferred Pronouns A constitutional law expert and former Harvard
professor, Dershowitz was part of O.J. Simpson’s legal “dream team.” He voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016
but has nonetheless been a vocal public defender of Trump, writing a book titled “The Case
Against Impeaching Trump.” Dershowitz said he will present oral arguments
outlining the constitutional arguments against Trump’s impeachment to “defend the integrity
of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent.” Dershowitz has defended a number of controversial
clients including Jeffrey Epstein, the multimillionaire who authorities say killed himself in jail
last summer while awaiting trial on charges that he sexually abused multiple underage
girls. One of Epstein’s accusers has also accused
Dershowitz of participating in her abuse. Dershowitz has vehemently denied the accusation. KEN STARR
Best known for his 1990s role as the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton,
Starr became a household name with his report on Clinton’s extramarital relationship with
White House intern Monica Lewinsky. That led to Clinton’s impeachment over 20
years ago. A former U.S. solicitor general and federal
circuit court judge, Starr has been a regular guest on Fox News, defending Trump on his
favored network. But he and Trump haven’t always been on
the same page. “I think that Ken Starr is a lunatic. I really think that Ken Starr is a disaster,”
Trump said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” in 1999. Starr was removed as president of Baylor University
and then resigned as chancellor of the school in the wake of a review critical of the university’s
handling of sexual assault allegations against football players. Starr was also involved in the representation
of Epstein. ROBERT RAY
A former federal prosecutor, Ray took over the Office of the Independent Counsel after
Starr and is known for the lengthy report he wrote on the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. He now focuses on white-collar criminal defense
matters and has appeared frequently on Fox News, defending the president. PAM BONDI
The former attorney general of Florida and a longtime Trump supporter, Bondi joined the
White House communications team late last year on a temporary basis to help shape the
administration’s defense strategy. After stepping down from her Florida position
in January, she worked as a lobbyist for Ballard Partners, representing clients including General
Motors, the commissioner of Major League Baseball and a Christian anti-human-trafficking advocacy
group. She also registered as a foreign agent for
the government of Qatar and as a lobbyist for a Kuwaiti firm, according to Justice Department
foreign agent filings and congressional lobbying documents. JANE RASKIN
The former federal attorney handled organized crime and racketeering cases and now has a
legal practice with her husband in Florida. In the 1980s, she was a trial attorney with
the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section’s Boston Strike Force, and her cases included
the nine-month trial and conviction of the underboss of the New England Mafia. She also served as counsel to the assistant
attorney general of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in Washington and as first
assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts. She and her husband, Martin Raskin, later
formed a law firm based in Coral Gables, Florida. The two worked with Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani
during the Mueller investigation. PAT PHILBIN
The deputy White House counsel previously was a political appointee in the Justice Department
during President George W. Bush’s administration. Philbin was involved in the discussion about
whether Bush had the legal authority to charge terror suspects held at the U.S. military
prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Philbin was a law clerk for Laurence Silberman,
a federal appeals court judge, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. MIKE PURPURA
Purpura is a deputy in the White House counsel’s office and worked on the administration’s
response to the House impeachment inquiry. He also was associate counsel to President
George W. Bush. More recently, he worked for more than two
years as chief legal officer at BlackSand Capital in Honolulu and spent nine years at
a law firm there. Purpura has been senior counsel to the deputy
attorney general and U.S. attorney for the District of Hawaii and spent four years as
assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

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