How did Montgomery County’s former prosecutor become the former president’s defense lawyer?
It was as simple as a phone call, said Bruce L. Castor Jr., who spent 30 years of public service in Montgomery County, in an interview.
Castor, a Republican, says he got a call out of the blue Jan. 17 from Washington, D.C. to ask if he was interested in representing President Trump in his impeachment trial.
Castor had just announced he had joined the law firm of van der Veen, O'Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin. He began to research the case.
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But then, he said, he read in the newspaper that the Trump team had gone in another direction with the legal strategy. Castor, thinking he was out, began to get to work in his new firm's practice.
Then came this past weekend, when the Trump team made headlines for firing the group of lawyers hired in January.
They reached out again to Castor. Castor said he engaged in the defense with blessing of the firm's founding partner, Michael van der Veen.
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"I consider it a privilege to represent the 45th President," Castor said in a statement released by Trump. "The strength of our constitution is about to be tested like never before in our history. It is strong and resilient. A document written for the ages, and it will triumph over partisanship yet again, and always.”
That is, perhaps, a hint to the strategy the new team will take.
Castor retired from Montgomery County with 30 years of service. He worked in various prosecutors’ offices from 1981 to 1985, beginning as an intern and ultimately elected twice to be district attorney of Montgomery County, an office he held from 2000 to 2008.
Castor then was twice elected a Montgomery County commissioner. He assumed that office in January 2008, concentrating on public safety and related matters building on his career in law enforcement.
After retiring, Castor became Pennsylvania solicitor general and then acting attorney general after the conviction of former Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
He was called as a witness for Bill Cosby's defense in a hearing before the comedian's sex assault trial in 2016. In court, Castor testified he had said Cosby would not be prosecuted "ever" by his office.
Castor defended his statement in court, saying he did not believe a strong enough case against Cosby could be made back in 2005.
In his new role, Castor will work alongside a colead counsel David Schoen, a criminal defense lawyer from Alabama.
Schoen was on the team of lawyers representing Trump's longtime friend Roger Stone and had met with Jeffrey Epstein as he faced additional abuse allegations.