Celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who has sought to cast himself as a nonpartisan member of President Trump’s defense team, pledged Tuesday that he would not earn money from his work in the Senate impeachment trial.
“I will not make money on this,” he said.
He would not disclose his normal hourly rate, but he has defended a number of extremely wealthy clients over the years, including socialites Claus von Bulow and Leona Helmsley and financiers Michael Milken and Jeffrey Epstein.
If Dershowitz does not get paid by Trump, he would have to determine a legal way to donate his services to the president’s defense fund. The White House declined to comment on who is paying Trump’s lawyers.
Dershowitz, a former Harvard law professor and frequent cable TV commentator, said he would discuss fees with the legal team later Tuesday or Wednesday and that, if he is paid, he will donate the money to charity.
Dershowitz said he spent two weeks researching and writing his portion of Trump’s impeachment defense, without the help of legal assistants.
“I wrote every word myself,” he said.
Two members of Trump’s defense team — Jay Sekulow and Jane Raskin — have been paid $225,000 from the Republican National Committee through November as part of $2.7 million transferred to a legal fund late last year, according to a Washington Post report Tuesday.
An RNC official confirmed it was paying part of the legal costs from a legal defense account, adding that the impeachment has led to “new surges in donor enthusiasm.”
Trump’s legal team includes at least six private lawyers, including Dershowitz and Kenneth W. Starr, as well as at least four White House employees, including White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, who are paid by taxpayers.
Dershowitz has sounded the most uneasy about his role, given the antipathy many of his colleagues and friends have toward Trump.
He spent several minutes during his prime-time presentation Monday trying to establish that his defense of Trump has nothing to do with his political opinions, arguing that the charges against the president are unconstitutional.
On Tuesday morning, Dershowitz said it was still unclear whether he would return to the defense table when the trial resumes in the afternoon. He said he was on his way to the White House, where Trump was scheduled to unveil a Middle East peace plan.
Dershowitz, a vocal Israel supporter, said he got to know Trump through his work in helping craft the plan, which was spearheaded by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Dershowitz said he spent two days in the White House in the early stages, reviewing proposals and answering questions. But he would not say if any of his suggestions became part of the plan.