Trump Defense Lawyer Withdraws Request To Pause Impeachment Trial During Sabbath

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 25: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) the president pro tempore of the Senate, pauses in the Rotunda as he waits for Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson to deliver the article of impeachment to the Sen... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 25: Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) the president pro tempore of the Senate, pauses in the Rotunda as he waits for Clerk of the House Cheryl Johnson to deliver the article of impeachment to the Senate on Capitol Hill on January 25, 2021 in Washington DC. The House is impeaching Donald Trump for the second time, with the article of impeachment alleging an incitement of insurrection. The Senate has scheduled to begin the trial of the former president on February 8th.(Photo by J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 9, 2021 8:00 a.m.

A lawyer leading former President Donald Trump’s defense effort in his impeachment trial withdrew a request on Monday to pause the Senate’s trial during the Jewish Sabbath, a delay that likely would have impacted the timing of the proceedings set to begin on Tuesday.

“Based on adjustments that have been made on the President’s defense team, I am writing today to withdraw my request so that the proceedings can go forward as originally contemplated before I made my request,” Trump’s defense attorney, David Schoen wrote in a letter addressed to the Senate’s president pro tempore Pat Leahy (D-VT), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). 

“I will not participate during the Sabbath; but the role I would have played will be fully covered to the satisfaction of the defense team,” he added.

The withdrawal of the request comes after reports that Schumer’s office over the weekend had said the Senate would accommodate the Atlanta-based attorney’s request to pause the trial in observance of the Sabbath, but did not elaborate on how. 

Schoen said in his letter, first reported by CNN, that a suspension of the trial on behalf of the Sabbath would cause the Senate to “lose Friday evening and all day Saturday that you previously intended to have for the trial.”

“I very much appreciated your decision; but I remained concerned about the delay in the proceedings,” he wrote.

Schoen had previously addressed a letter asking that the trial be suspended if it was not wrapped up by the beginning of the Sabbath at 5:24 p.m. on Friday, and that it not reconvene until Sunday.

“I apologize for the inconvenience my request that impeachment proceedings not be conducted during the Jewish Sabbath undoubtedly will cause other people involved in the proceedings,” Schoen said in the initial letter. “The practices and prohibitions are mandatory for me, however; so, respectfully, I have no choice but to make this request.”

It remains unclear how the withdrawn request will change in the trial schedule laid out in the resolution that was slated to be passed Tuesday, but the resolution had included language to pause the trial after 5 p.m. on Friday evening and resume on Sunday afternoon.

Read Schoen’s full letter below:

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