WASHINGTON – Attorney David Schoen, whom former President Donald Trump has tapped to defend him in his upcoming Senate impeachment trial, has strong ties to the Zionist Organization of America, and has filed lawsuits against Palestinian leaders in the U.S. court system.
Schoen, a veteran litigator in both civil and criminal cases, will represent Trump together with Bruce Castor, after the previous legal team unraveled amid Trump’s failed attempts to cancel the results of the 2020 election.
Schoen, 62, serves on the national board of directors of the Zionist Organization of America, among other organizations. ZOA, which is heavily funded by the Adelson family, was among the most prominent Jewish organizations offering consistent support to Trump over the course of his presidency.
A frequent TV commentator, attorney Schoen also served on a panel which he described as “organized under the auspices of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, to develop a position on defending Israel’s security fence.” The Conference, which comprises more than 50 member organizations, prides itself on including groups with different political leanings in the Jewish community, although it voted not to accept the liberal, pro-Israel J Street to its ranks in 2014.
Schoen also served as lead counsel in several cases brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act in federal court, where he represented victims of terror attacks against Palestinian leaders and organizations including the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. In addition, he co-authored along with ZOA’s leadership an opinion piece in April 2018 regarding one of the cases, criticizing the Trump administration for “a series of betrayals by the U.S. government, which shamefully took positions in the case that supported the terrorists, not the American victims.”
Schoen was also counsel of record for an amicus brief on behalf of the ZOA that supported a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem who wanted to have his place of birth recorded on his passport as Jerusalem. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the case twice, although the State Department, with the urging of former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, reversed the long-standing policy in October 2020, empowering U.S. citizens to choose between “Jerusalem” or “Israel” as their place of birth on their passports.
According to his website, Schoen defended “alleged leadership of so-called Israeli mafia in America” accused of international trafficking of Ecstacy, although it doesn’t specify which cases or clients he represented.
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Last year Schoen told The Atlanta Jewish Times that he had also been approached by Trump associate Roger Stone – prior to his trial on charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering, for which he was later convicted – and that he was later retained to handle Stone’s appeal. Trump later commuted Stone’s sentence and pardoned him.
Schoen also met with financier Jeffrey Epstein about potentially joining his defense team several days before Epstein, a convicted sex offender, killed himself in a New York prison, in August 2019.