Starr, the independent counsel whose investigation of President Bill Clinton led to his impeachment, was scheduled to provide analysis for Fox News Channel’s coverage, but a network spokesperson said that he is no longer a contributor in light of his new role.
Dershowitz posted on Twitter a statement that he “will present oral arguments at the Senate trial to address the constitutional arguments against impeachment and removal.”
The statement noted that he opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton, whose trial was 21 years ago, and voted for Hillary Clinton, but “he believes the issues at stake go to the heart of our enduring Constitution.”
“He is participating in this impeachment trial to defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent.”
Also reportedly joining the legal team will be Robert Ray, Starr’s former deputy. Ray also has provided TV commentary, even if he is not as familiar a TV figure. He appeared on Fox News this week to criticize Democrats’ for engaging in an overly partisan process.
Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow will continue to serve as lead lawyers.
The reaction to the appointments was colorful. Newt Gingrich, who pursued the Clinton impeachment until he resigned in the face of allegations of his own extramarital conduct, wrote on Twitter, “Let’s see: Speaker Pelosi sends in Schiff and Nadler and President Trump sends in Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr. That should tell you everything you need to know about the quality of the two cases.”
Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern who had the affair with Clinton, posted on Twitter soon after the news broke. “This is definitely an ‘are you fucking kidding me’ kinda day,” she wrote.
Media outlets also quickly focused on Dershowitz’s role as Jeffrey Epstein’s attorney, as well as legal work that Starr did for Epstein’s defense team when a controversial plea deal was negotiated in 2008.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.