Certainly one of Donald Trump‘s three impeachment legal professionals described the previous president as a ‘f****** criminal’ and sued him final 12 months for trying to disenfranchise Pennsylvania votes via baseless claims of mail-in voter fraud.
Michael van der Veen, 57, was one among three legal professionals drafted every week in the past to characterize Trump in his trial, and on Monday signed Trump’s response to the Home article of impeachment, alongside Bruce Castor and David Schoen.
Castor and Schoen are his lead protection legal professionals. All have been employed final Sunday, after his 5 earlier legal professionals stop.
Michael van der Veen is one among three legal professionals defending Trump, alongside Castor and Schoen
Trump, pictured in November, employed Castor, Schoen and van der Veen solely every week in the past
The impeachment trial of Donald Trump on expenses of revolt started on Tuesday
However van der Veen’s earlier remarks and circumstances are sure to boost eyebrows – particularly given Trump’s notorious demand for dependable loyalty, and former purges of anybody crucial of him.
Van der Veen, primarily based in Philadelphia, is greatest identified for his private harm, professional bono and prison protection litigation. Castor, the previous Montgomery County district lawyer who famously declined to prosecute Invoice Cosby, joined his agency in December.
Van der Veen represented Justin Hiemstra in 2019 when Hiemstra, a scholar on the time, was accused of trying to hack into the IRS to acquire Trump’s tax returns. Van der Veen mentioned his shopper had engaged in a ‘schoolboy prank’, and Hiemstra pleaded responsible and was sentenced to probation.
Throughout one dialog, Hiemstra recalled van der Veen calling the then-president ‘a f****** criminal’.
‘I am undecided if [those comments] have been made to make me really feel extra comfy, or in the event that they have been his precise opinions,’ Hiemstra advised The Philadelphia Inquirer.
‘He positively got here off as pretty anti-Trump within the context that I knew him.’
Justin Hiemstra described van der Veen as being ‘pretty anti-Trump’ when he knew him
The Washington Post reported that, throughout Trump’s first two years as president, van der Veen donated to distinguished Pennsylvania Democrats, together with Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., one of many former president’s most vocal critics within the chamber.
A 12 months after the Hiemstra case, van der Veen represented Melvin Johnakin, an impartial candidate for the U.S. Home of Representatives, when Johnakin sued Trump and Postmaster Basic Louis DeJoy over mail-in voting.
In the suit, filed in August, van der Veen sued ‘to protect and defend the important proper to vote and stop large-scale disenfranchisement’.
He accused Trump and DeJoy of plotting to sluggish mail supply, particularly to disenfranchise city voters residing in minority-populated, largely Democrat districts.
‘These actions additionally come up in an setting topic to repeated claims by President Donald J. Trump that voting by mail is ripe with fraud, regardless of having no proof in assist of those claims, and lawsuits filed by the Trump marketing campaign to cease mail-in voting in states corresponding to Nevada and Pennsylvania,’ van der Veen wrote.
The lawsuit was settled as a part of an settlement stopping the postal service from implementing lots of the proposed adjustments that might have affected mail supply.
Van der Veen mentioned politics had nothing to do along with his choice now to characterize Trump at his impeachment trial, and insisted his earlier circumstances had no bearing on the trial.
‘My agency treats all of its shoppers the identical,’ he advised The Philadelphia Inquirer.
‘Whether or not they’re in a trial on a nationwide stage, or whether or not they’re within the Court docket of Widespread Pleas. All of them get our greatest illustration.’