- Michael van der Veen represents Trump with Bruce Castor and David Schoen
- Van der Veen has previously donated to Pennsylvania Democrats
- In 2019 he told a client accused of hacking the IRS Trump was ‘a f****** crook’
- In August 2020 he represented a Pennsylvania politician suing Trump
- He sued Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over mail-in votes
- He also donated money to prominent Pennsylvania Democrats
- Van der Veen insists his previous cases are irrelevant to his defense of Trump
One of Donald Trump‘s three impeachment lawyers described the former president as a ‘f****** crook’ and sued him last year for attempting to disenfranchise Pennsylvania votes through baseless claims of mail-in voter fraud.
Michael van der Veen, 57, was one of three lawyers drafted a week ago to represent Trump in his trial, and on Monday signed Trump’s response to the House article of impeachment, alongside Bruce Castor and David Schoen.
Castor and Schoen are his lead defense lawyers. All were hired last Sunday, after his five previous lawyers quit.
But van der Veen’s previous remarks and cases are certain to raise eyebrows – especially given Trump’s infamous demand for unswerving loyalty, and previous purges of anyone critical of him.
Van der Veen, based in Philadelphia, is best known for his personal injury, pro bono and criminal defense litigation. Castor, the former Montgomery County district attorney who famously declined to prosecute Bill Cosby, joined his firm in December.
Van der Veen represented Justin Hiemstra in 2019 when Hiemstra, a student at the time, was accused of attempting to hack into the IRS to obtain Trump’s tax returns. Van der Veen said his client had engaged in a ‘schoolboy prank’, and Hiemstra pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation.
During one conversation, Hiemstra recalled van der Veen calling the then-president ‘a f****** crook’.
‘I’m not sure if [those comments] were made to make me feel more comfortable, or if they were his actual opinions,’ Hiemstra told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
‘He definitely came off as fairly anti-Trump in the context that I knew him.’
The Washington Post reported that, during Trump’s first two years as president, van der Veen donated to prominent Pennsylvania Democrats, including Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., one of the former president’s most vocal critics in the chamber.
A year after the Hiemstra case, van der Veen represented Melvin Johnakin, an independent candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, when Johnakin sued Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over mail-in voting.
In the suit, filed in August, van der Veen sued ‘to preserve and protect the essential right to vote and prevent large-scale disenfranchisement’.
He accused Trump and DeJoy of plotting to slow mail delivery, in particular to disenfranchise urban voters living in minority-populated, largely Democrat districts.
‘These actions also arise in an environment subject to repeated claims by President Donald J. Trump that voting by mail is ripe with fraud, despite having no evidence in support of these claims, and lawsuits filed by the Trump campaign to stop mail-in voting in states such as Nevada and Pennsylvania,’ van der Veen wrote.