The impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump begin. Even if the president himself does not want to testify, special personalities will appear during the impeachment.
Photo series with 19 pictures
The impeachment proceedings against former US President Donald Trump have parallels to a normal process, with prosecutors, defense counsel and a presiding judge. Key players in brief:
A Batman fan as chairman
As the longest-serving Democratic Senator and thus executive chairman of the Senate, Patrick Leahy will lead the process. The 80-year-old has been a member of the Senate since 1975, where he represents the state of Vermont together with left-wing politician Bernie Sanders.
Patrick Leahy: The Democratic Senator has appeared in Batman films. (Source: imago images)
In addition to political work, Leahy has also repeatedly appeared in front of the camera: the passionate fan of the bat hero made short guest appearances in several Batman films. The experience in “The Dark Knight” (2008) was particularly intense, when the villain Joker, played by Heath Ledger, grabbed him by the neck and held a knife to his face.
In real life, Leahy’s health aroused concerns in late January: Leahy appeared weakened when the senators were sworn in as impeachment jurors. He was admitted to the hospital for a check-up, but was released the same evening.
The first impeachment proceedings against Trump in early 2020 because of the Ukraine affair were headed by the Supreme Constitutional Judge John Roberts. The chairman of the Supreme Court only presides over impeachment cases against incumbent presidents. Like Roberts a year ago, Leahy will now have a more ceremonial role: He should ensure that the process runs smoothly and that the rules are observed. The senior senator has promised to act impartially and guarantee Trump a fair trial.
Law professor as prosecutor
During the storming of the Capitol, Jamie Raskin had to hide from radical Trump supporters; Shortly thereafter, the Democratic MP began drafting an impeachment charge against Trump. Now the 58-year-old will lead the nine-person team of prosecutors – in English: Impeachment Manager – against the ex-president.
Jamie Raskin: “I will not lose my son at the end of 2020 and my country and my republic in 2021.” (Source: imago images)
For the Maryland MP, the trial is also an emotional affair: just days before the Capitol storm, Raskin’s son suffering from depression took his own life. “I will not lose my son at the end of 2020 and my country and republic in 2021,” Raskin told CNN. “That will not happen.”
Raskin is well armed for his job as chief prosecutor: the professor taught constitutional law at the American University in the capital Washington for more than 25 years. In the US House of Representatives, to which he has been a member since 2017, he is a member of the judiciary committee, where he experienced the first impeachment proceedings against Trump. Raskin has asked Trump to testify under oath in the upcoming trial and to cross-examine. The ex-president does not want to obey.
Controversial lawyers for Trump
After Trump’s actual defense team dropped out at short notice, the ex-president is now represented by lawyers Bruce Castor and David Schoen. Until now, they were hardly known to the public, but they have already caused controversy.
David Schoen: Should represent Jerry Epstein in 2019. (Source: Joe Cavaretta // South Florida Sun-Sentinel / AP / dpa)
Schoen previously worked for long-time Trump advisor Roger Stone, who was sentenced to prison in the course of the Russia affair, but was later pardoned by Trump. In 2019, the Southern Alabama-based criminal defense attorney made headlines because he was supposed to represent the arrested sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. When Epstein was found dead in his prison cell, Schoen said he did not believe in suicide, the official cause of death.
Bruce Castor: As a prosecutor, he was against a case against the later convicted comedian Bill Cosby. (Source: AP / dpa)
59-year-old Castor is best known for refusing to initiate criminal proceedings against sitcom legend Bill Cosby on charges of sexual violence in 2005 while serving as the Pennsylvania state attorney. He thought the evidence was too thin. Another prosecutor later brought charges against Cosby, who was eventually sentenced to years in prison in 2018. Castor, in turn, had legal disputes with the Cosby victim Andrea Constand.