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Trump Just Hired Jeffrey Epstein’s Lawyers

The men who helped Jeffrey Epstein walk free in a sweetheart plea deal—and allegedly abuse again—are now on Trump's high-powered legal team for his impeachment trial.

Emily ShugermanJan. 17, 2020 11:37 AM ET

Donald Trump is lawyering up for his impeachment trial with a team that looks surprisingly similar to that of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The president bolstered his legal team Friday with attorneys Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr, who helped Epstein evade prison time in a now infamously lenient plea deal with Palm Beach prosecutors. Epstein originally faced multiple charges of soliciting and trafficking underage girls, but escaped with just 13 months of house arrest in a deal that caused Trump’s Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to resign under pressure last year.

A suit unveiled by Virgin Islands prosecutors this week alleges Epstein continued to traffic and abuse girls as young as 12 on his private islands until 2018, a decade after Starr and Dershowitz helped him walk free. Epstein died of suicide before facing trafficking charges in New York last year. 

Dershowitz, who has also represented controversial celebrities like O.J. Simpson and Patty Hearst, will present oral arguments at Trump’s Senate trial, a spokesperson for the president's legal team told CNN. He previously helped negotiate the non-prosecution deal for Epstein and continued to represent him until at least December 2018. He was also accused of sexually abusing one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre. Dershowtiz has denied the allegation.

Starr is known for leading the investigation into former President Bill Clinton, a man with his own Epstein ties, that ultimately ended in the president’s impeachment. Starr joined Epstein’s defense team in 2007, as the disgraced billionaire was facing possible federal charges. He has since defended the actions of Acosta, the Palm Beach prosecutor at the time, saying he “play[ed] tough” with the defense team in negotiations. 

Trump also added Robert Ray, Starr's successor at the Office of Independent Counsel, to his legal team Friday. His defense is currently being led by White House counsel Pat Cipollone and his personal attorney Jay Sekulow.

The president has his own ties to Epstein, who was seen partying and socializing with Trump at Mar-a-Lago as recently as 2000. Trump previously called Epstein a “terrific guy,” but has since claimed he “wasn’t a fan” of the convicted sex offender. His attorney general, William Barr— whose own father was Epstein’s boss at Dalton—is now investigating the circumstances around Epstein’s suicide.