Butch Bowers will no longer be a lead attorney in Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial

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Updated on Jan. 30: A lawyer who is a go-to choice for GOP politicians in South Carolina will no longer become a lead lawyer in the upcoming second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

The lawyer is 55-year-old Karl S. “Butch” Bowers Jr., described by the Washington Post as “a lawyer with a military background, taciturn demeanor and a small office near the State House in Columbia.”

On Saturday night, CNN reported that Bowers will no longer be on Trump’s legal team.

The Associated Press and the Post and Courier had coverage of the earlier announcement that Bowers would be lead attorney on Trump’s impeachment defense team.

Bowers has represented politicians in ethics investigations and developed an expertise in election law. He was a special counsel for voting matters in the U.S. Department of Justice during the George W. Bush administration.

Bowers told the Washington Post that he represents public figures because of his father’s federal conviction in an alleged scheme to defraud the government in the sale of repossessed homes. The elder Bowers was prosecuted after heading the Federal Highway Administration under President Jimmy Carter.

Bowers said his father may have been considering a bid for Congress, and he may have been targeted for political reasons.

“If I could help other people avoid that kind of stuff,” Bowers reasoned, “then maybe that can be my contribution to society.”

The trial is scheduled to begin the week of Feb. 8. Bowers had planned to include other lawyers on the legal team, including Deborah Barbier, a former federal prosecutor who now represents defendants accused of white-collar crime, report the Associated Press and the State. Barbier has also left Trump’s legal team.

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford told the Washington Post that Bowers was “able and professional” when the lawyer fought attempts to remove Sanford from office. Bowers also defended Nikki Haley, a former governor of South Carolina, in an ethics investigation when she was the state’s governor. Haley told the Washington Post in a statement that Trump “is fortunate to have him on his team.”

Bowers also was a legal counsel to the 2008 presidential campaign of then-GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, represented South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in an election case when he was lieutenant governor, and was a lawyer for the South Carolina Election Commission in litigation over voter ID laws.

He also represented North Carolina’s former GOP governor in legal challenges to a law requiring transgender people to use restrooms in publicly owned buildings that correspond with their sex on their birth certificates, according to previous Associated Press coverage.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had recommended Bowers, a graduate of Tulane Law School, to Trump. Bowers had worked with Graham in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the Air Force.

Bowers “can handle Trump well,” Graham told the Washington Post. “He’ll give the president good advice and won’t sugarcoat it. He can talk to him.”

Updated Jan. 30 at 8:31 p.m. to report that Bowers and Barbier will no longer be on Trump’s legal team at the impeachment trial.

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