Former President Trump hires South Carolina lawyer Bowers for impeachment defense

South Carolina Air National Guard Colonel Karl S. "Butch" Bowers, Jr. poses in an undated photograph

Former President Donald Trump has hired South Carolina-based lawyer Butch Bowers to represent him in his Senate impeachment trial over a charge that he incited insurrection, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Bowers did not respond to requests for comment.

While relatively unknown on the national stage, Bowers has represented former Republican governors in South Carolina and served in the U.S. Justice Department under Republican former President George W. Bush, according to his website.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a Trump ally, recommended him, the source said.

In 2012, Bowers represented then-Governor Nikki Haley in an ethics hearing over allegations that she engaged in illegal lobbying while she was a state representative. Haley was cleared of wrongdoing.

In 2009, Bowers represented then-Governor Mark Sanford in an ethics hearing over his use of a state aircraft for a secret five-day trip to Argentina to see a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair. Sanford agreed to pay $74,000 to settle charges that his personal travel and campaign spending violated state ethics laws, but he continued to deny wrongdoing.

Bowers, also known as Karl Smith Bowers Jr., is a graduate of Tulane University’s law school, has his own law firm and is associated with the Miller Law Group. Bowers said on the group’s website that he enjoyed “bird hunting” and “good bourbon.”

“I’ve always found him to be competent and ethical,” said South Carolina lawyer Jay Bender, a Democrat who has known Bowers professionally for over 20 years.

But he said Trump would not be his first controversial representation. “I’ve found many of his clients to be objectionable,” Bender said.

Trump’s trial is likely to begin sometime around mid-February in order to give Bowers time to prepare, Republican Senator Mike Braun told reporters on Thursday.

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