(JTA) — David Schoen, one of two new lawyers named by Donald Trump to the former president’s impeachment defense team, has fought for Jewish causes.
Schoen and Bruce Castor will replace the team that quit just ahead of Trump’s Senate trial on charges that he incited the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, reportedly because of differences in strategies: Trump’s former lawyers wanted to focus on whether it was constitutional to convict a president who was out of office, while Trump wants to focus on his discredited claims that Joe Biden won the presidency through election fraud.
Schoen, a member of Beth Jacob, an Orthodox synagogue in Atlanta, was a lawyer in a 2011 lawsuit against former President Jimmy Carter that sought damages for publishing “false and misleading statements” in his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” Within months, Schoen withdrew the lawsuit, which Carter and his publisher said was unwinnable based on free speech protections.
Schoen also has advocated for redress from the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority for terrorist attacks, sometimes in his capacity as a board member of the Zionist Organization of America.
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, a Washington, D.C., rabbi, on Schoen’s website endorses the lawyer as “a fierce advocate on behalf of his clients” who has represented a group that Herzfeld helped lead, Coalition of Jewish Concerns-Amcha, on “many occasions.” The group, which advocated for Jews and Israel, has not been active for a number of years.
Schoen last year represented Roger Stone, Trump’s friend, on charges of witness tampering and obstruction of justice arising out of the federal investigation into ties between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia. Stone was convicted, but Trump commuted his 40-month sentence and then pardoned him.
Schoen also was set to defend Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced financier facing charges of trafficking in minors. Epstein killed himself in prison in August 2019 before the trial. Schoen told the Atlanta Jewish Times last year that he believes Epstein was murdered.
A number of attorneys who represented Trump at his 2020 impeachment trial for trying to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden, then a rival for the presidency, have declined the job this time, including constitutional law expert Alan Dershowitz. The Senate acquitted Trump in that case, largely on party lines.
Trump incited the insurrection last month based on his false claims that Biden did not win November’s election.