Bruce Castor
Castor presenting at Donald Trump's impeachment trial in 2021
Acting Attorney General of Pennsylvania
In office
August 17, 2016 – August 31, 2016
GovernorTom Wolf
Preceded byKathleen Kane
Succeeded byBruce Beemer
Solicitor General of Pennsylvania
In office
March 21, 2016 – September 9, 2016
GovernorTom Wolf
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byVacant
Member of the
Montgomery County Board of Commissioners
In office
January 7, 2008 – January 4, 2016
Served with Jim Matthews, Joe Hoeffel, Josh Shapiro, Leslie Richards, Val Arkoosh
Preceded byTom Ellis
Succeeded byJoe Gale
District Attorney of Montgomery County
In office
January 3, 2000 – January 7, 2008
Preceded byMichael D. Marino
Succeeded byRisa Vetri Ferman
Personal details
Born
Bruce Lee Castor Jr.

(1961-10-24) October 24, 1961 (age 60)
Abington, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Elizabeth
Children2
EducationLafayette College (AB)
Washington and Lee University (JD)

Bruce Lee Castor Jr.[1] (born October 24, 1961)[2][3] is an American lawyer and retired Republican politician from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He was appointed as the first Solicitor General of Pennsylvania in March 2016, and also first deputy attorney general the following July. Castor became acting attorney general less than a month later. He led for the defense of the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump along with American lawyer David Schoen.[4]

Statewide profile

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After serving stints beginning in 1981 with, respectively, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, the Northampton County (PA) District Attorney's Office, as an LBJ Congressional Scholar (Washington, DC) and defending Federal prisoners at FCI-Alderson (WV), Castor began his professional career as an assistant district attorney in 1985 before becoming district attorney of Montgomery County from 2000 to 2008. He next took a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, an elected position he held until January 4, 2016, when he was succeeded by Joe Gale. Castor was defeated for re-election as Montgomery County's District Attorney in November 2015. Castor completed a nearly three-year term as a special assistant district attorney of Centre County, Pennsylvania on December 31, 2017, followed by an appointment as a special assistant district attorney of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania on January 6, 2018. On March 29, 2016, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced Castor's appointment (back-dated to March 21, when he actually took office) to the newly created position of Solicitor General of Pennsylvania.[5] While he operated freely as the de facto Attorney General and was widely recognized as such, Castor formally became the state's Acting Attorney General, replacing Kane, who resigned on August 17, 2016, following a conviction of a third degree felony perjury charge and several related misdemeanors.[6][7] Governor Tom Wolf later nominated Bruce Beemer to fulfill the remaining balance of Kane's term which expired in January 2017. Castor is the cousin of Steve Castor, who represented Trump during his first impeachment.

Career

Montgomery County District Attorney

After serving in the office since 1985, Castor was twice elected district attorney for Montgomery County, in which he is a lifelong resident, assuming office in January 2000.[8] After his second term ended, he was succeeded by Risa Vetri Ferman. When she sought (and won) election as judge in November 2015, Castor sought to return to that office, but lost to Ferman's first assistant, Kevin Steele, who ran an 11th-hour campaign contending Castor should have charged entertainer Bill Cosby in 2005.[9] Castor countered that Steele could have arrested Cosby himself in the intervening years if he believed credible evidence existed to do so. A week before the election, Andrea Constand, who had accused Cosby of sexual assault in Montgomery County, sued Castor, claiming he defamed her by intimating she was not credible.[10] The Washington Post said that this suit contributed to Castor's defeat.[11] In November 2017, Castor sued Constand and her lawyers for defamation, charging that the lawsuit and its timing were retaliatory and ruined his political career.[12] In 2017, Cosby stood trial, but the trial ended in a hung jury with jurors unable to agree on Cosby's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, as Castor had predicted in 2005 would happen if he had elected to charge Cosby. However at Cosby's retrial he was convicted on all three counts and he was sentenced to serve 3 to 10 years in prison. After two years of time served the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the sentence, ruling that Castor's pledge to not prosecute Cosby was binding on all other prosecutors.

Notable cases

Attorney General race

Main article: Pennsylvania Attorney General election, 2004

Castor ran for the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania Attorney General in 2004 against Republican Tom Corbett. Furious that he had lost endorsements of the southeastern GOP chairmen, Castor attacked Corbett and the county chairmen with allegations of backroom deals with Bob Asher,[30] the state's national GOP committeeman.[31][32] Castor and Asher had feuded for several years due to Asher's prior felony convictions for perjury, bribery, racketeering, and conspiracy in 1986 in the context of a political corruption scandal which also involved the State Treasurer, R. Budd Dwyer, leading to Dwyer's committing suicide at a press conference before his sentencing. Asher had been state GOP Chair during the scandal and was convicted for participating in the bribery of Dwyer. Asher's criminal past, connected to a political bribery scheme while he was the Republican state chair, became a subject of the campaign for the state's top law enforcement post.[31][33]

Castor was unable to produce proof of any conspiracy against him and ran without the party endorsement in all but two counties, his home base in Montgomery County and Monroe County. Castor lost 52.8% to 47.2%, despite winning overwhelmingly the same southeastern counties whose chairmen had repudiated him, and his home in Montgomery County, where he took nearly 82.5% of the vote.[34][35]

Private practice

When his term as district attorney expired in January 2008, Castor took a position at the litigation firm of Elliott, Greenleaf & Siedzikowski in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania as a shareholder and director. One of his notable clients was professional basketball player Marko Jaric of the Memphis Grizzlies, who was accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia. Jaric was not charged in the case.[36] In 2009, Castor represented Mark Sargent, who was investigated (but not charged) for patronizing a brothel while he served as dean of the Villanova University School of Law.[37] In 2010, Castor represented his former boss, attorney Michael D. Marino, whose nephew accidentally shot and killed a man while hunting.[38] Marino, a former Montgomery County D.A., was present when the shooting occurred, despite knowing that his nephew was prohibited from owning and using firearms, owing to a felony conviction.[38] Marino was not charged in the case. On July 1, 2013, Castor joined the law firm of Rogers & Associates (subsequently renamed Rogers Castor) as a civil-litigation lawyer in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, with former Lower Merion Commissioner and former Republican state senate nominee, Lance Rogers. Castor and Rogers Castor, renamed as Rogers Counsel, parted ways on December 31, 2020, and Castor joined the personal injury law firm of van der Veen, O'Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin.[39] In 2017, Castor led the investigation into the Death of Tim Piazza at Pennsylvania State University.[40]

Montgomery County commissioner

In 2007, Castor challenged incumbent County Commissioner Tom Ellis, a one-time friend who had chaired Castor's campaigns in 1999 and 2003 but endorsed Corbett in 2004.[41] Early in the campaign, Castor commissioned a poll showing that Ellis, who had been hobbled by negative press surrounding alleged domestic violence incidents, would lose in a general election.[42] Ellis released his own poll to try to refute Castor's charges that he was unelectable.[43] In a six candidate field, Castor won the party endorsement on the first ballot, but his preferred running mate, former State Representative Melissa Murphy Weber, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Jim Matthews on the second ballot.

Initially, Castor was reluctant to run with Matthews saying he believed Matthews was "untrustworthy." However, amid widespread pressure that he would be splitting the party, Castor relented and ran with Matthews against former Democratic Congressman Joe Hoeffel and incumbent commissioner Ruth Damsker in the general election.[44] During the campaign, some of Castor's earlier criticism of Matthews was raised by the Democrats, including financial support to Matthews from Bob Asher. Over Castor's objections who would not accept funds from a convicted felon, Matthews set up a separate campaign account from the Matthews/Castor account in order to collect contributions from Asher.[45] On election day, Castor won, taking first place in the general election setting an electoral record at the time for the position. His running mate placed third, giving the GOP control of the commission. This was the first time in at least 140 years that a Republican failed to capture both the first and the second spot. Castor and Matthews served with Hoeffel, who finished second.[46] It was immediately a rocky relationship with all Castor's earlier predictions about Matthews being "untrustworthy" coming true. Matthews and Hoeffel sided against Castor shutting him out of setting county policy. Castor responded by repeatedly making allegations of corruption against his fellow commissioners charging mismanagement of county finances, the hiring of unqualified people, and in the conduct of county business. A subsequent grand jury report found questionable behavior on Hoeffel's part for his participation in discussing county business at private breakfast meetings held with Matthews and senior aides–an alleged violation of state "sunshine" laws. However, unlike Matthews, who was later arrested for allegedly perjuring himself while testifying to the grand jury,[47] Hoeffel was never charged with criminal wrongdoing.[48][49] Nevertheless, Matthews and Hoeffel were unable to achieve endorsement for re-election and dropped out of the race, while GOP voters easily re-nominated Castor who was thus vindicated in his allegations of government corruption and mismanagement by Hoeffel and Matthews.

On November 8, 2011, St. Rep. Josh Shapiro, Whitemarsh Twp. Supervisor Leslie Richards, and Castor were elected, marking the first time in county history Democrats controlled two of the three seats on the Board of Commissioners.[50] Shapiro was elected chairman unanimously on nomination from Castor. All three members of the commission later noted the improved level of civility and functionality on the board, with Castor expressing pride in working with Shapiro and Richards whom he considered "honest."[51] The relationship amongst the three commissioners later prompted one columnist of The Philadelphia Inquirer to note that she owed Castor an apology for considering his complaints about the prior county administration "sour grapes".[52] On November 3, 2015, Castor was defeated in his effort to return to the district attorney's post and Joe Gale was elected to succeed Castor as county commissioner. Upon retiring from county service after 30 years on January 4, 2016, Castor began practicing law full-time as a trial lawyer.

Solicitor general and acting attorney general

On March 21, 2016, Castor took the oath of office as the first Solicitor General of Pennsylvania. Being summoned to her Scranton office by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane on March 4, 2016, without explanation, Castor met General Kane expecting her to request him to represent her in a private capacity[citation needed]. Instead, Kane offered him the newly created position of Solicitor General of Pennsylvania (later merged into the job of first deputy attorney general)[citation needed], and Castor accepted. The move was necessitated because the Attorney General had her license to practice law suspended by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Castor was supposedly subordinate to Kane in all matters except for making legal decisions on behalf of Pennsylvania, though most observers considered him the de facto attorney general, a fact later confirmed upon Kane's resignation. In practice, Castor operated as a bridge between Kane and the remainder of the office of attorney general, in addition to being the final word on legal matters, in order to make the executive portion of the office function properly.

However, following Democrat Kathleen Kane's sudden resignation, Republican Castor was sworn in as Acting Attorney General of Pennsylvania, no longer simply de facto attorney general, though later that week Democratic Governor Tom Wolf nominated Democratic Inspector General Bruce Beemer to serve the remainder of Kane's term. The Pennsylvania Senate confirmed the nomination quickly.[53] After Castor assumed the office of Acting Attorney General, he was the subject of criticism,[54] and on August 30, 2016, Bruce Beemer succeeded Castor as attorney general. Castor resigned from the office of attorney general on September 9, 2016, reverting to first deputy attorney general and, finally, solicitor general.

Second impeachment trial of Donald Trump

See also: Second impeachment of Donald Trump

On January 31, 2021, Castor was appointed to take the lead for Donald J. Trump's defense team for his 2021 impeachment trial, alongside criminal law practitioner David Schoen.[4] Castor's opening arguments on February 9, 2021, were widely reported to be confusing and rambling.[55][56][57] Trump was reportedly "furious" about Castor's "rambling, almost somnambulant defense."[58] Texas Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn commented, "The president's lawyer just rambled on and on" and "I've seen a lot of lawyers and a lot of arguments, and that was not one of the finest I've seen."[55] Castor for his part suggested the former President did not criticize his performance. "Far from it," he said.[59]

References

  1. ^ Pennsylvania state reports - Volume 591, 2007
  2. ^ Hubbell, Martindale (April 1997). Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory: Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota (Volume 14 - 1997). Martindale-Hubbell. ISBN 9781561602223.
  3. ^ Hubbell, Martindale (December 1, 2016). Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory 2017: Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia. Martindale-Hubbell. ISBN 9781603663861.
  4. ^ a b Acosta, Jim; Collins, Kaitlan; Brown, Pamela; Polantz, Katelyn (February 1, 2021). "Trump names two new lawyers for impeachment trial a day after his defense team collapsed". CNN. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  5. ^ Angela Couloumbis and Jeremy Roebuck (March 30, 2016). "A.G. Kane hires Castor as a top aide". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on August 31, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2016.
  6. ^ Couloumbis, Angela; McCoy, Craig R. (August 16, 2016). "Attorney General Kathleen Kane to resign". Philadelphia Media Network. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  7. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Kathleen Granahan Kane (2015) CP-46-CR-0006239-2015
  8. ^ Marcovitz, Hal (January 3, 2000). "County Commissioners, Others to be Sworn In". The Allentown Morning Call. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  9. ^ Savage, Charlie (February 8, 2021). "Who Are David Schoen and Bruce Castor, Trump's Impeachment Trial Lawyers?". The New York Times. The former president’s defense team brings together an Alabama civil rights and criminal defense lawyer and a former Pennsylvania prosecutor best known for not charging Bill Cosby.
  10. ^ McCrystal, Laura; Parks, Jessica. "Steele tops Castor in contentious Montco D.A. race". inquirer.com.
  11. ^ Moyer, Justin Wm. (February 4, 2016). "The prosecutor undone by a 'secret agreement' with Bill Cosby". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  12. ^ "Former Pennsylvania district attorney sues Cosby accuser for alleged defamation". ABC News. November 3, 2017. Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  13. ^ "CNN.com - Prosecutors end Cosby investigation - Feb 22, 2005". www.cnn.com.
  14. ^ "Bill Cosby accuser files lawsuit against Montco DA candidate Bruce Castor". 6abc Philadelphia. October 27, 2015.
  15. ^ "A Pennsylvania Election Reached A Flash Point Over Bill Cosby".
  16. ^ "Bill Cosby Is Charged With Felony Sex Crime Over 2004 Case". npr.org. NPR. December 30, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
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  20. ^ Dale, MarieClaire (October 26, 2007). "Teen Admits School-Assault Plot". The Oklahoman.
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  24. ^ "Maurice Possley and Steve Mills, In depth: Crimes go unsolved as DNA profiles not sent to FBI, Chicago Tribune, Reprinted in St. Augustine Record, 10/6/04". Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2007.
  25. ^ Sara Rimer, Convict’s DNA Sways Labs, Not a Determined Prosecutor, The New York Times, Reprinted at www.crimlaw.com, 10/6/02 Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ "Supreme Court denies DNA test to rapist". www.cnn.com.
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  28. ^ Husband guilty of murder - obsession with stripper led to strangulation, Associated Press, 1997-10-31
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  45. ^ Margaret Gibbons (September 24, 2007). "Dems want Asher money returned". Pottstown Mercury.[permanent dead link]
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  48. ^ Gibbons, Margaret (May 25, 2012). "Matthews' day in court could come on May 31". PhillyBurbs.com. Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  49. ^ DeHuff, Jenny (December 6, 2011). "Commissioner Matthews arrested, resigns as chairman". The Times Herald. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
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Political offices Preceded byTom Ellis Member of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners 2008–2016 Served alongside: Jim Matthews, Joe Hoeffel, Josh Shapiro, Leslie Richards, Val Arkoosh Succeeded byJoe Gale Legal offices Preceded byMichael D. Marino District Attorney of Montgomery County 2000–2008 Succeeded byRisa Vetri Ferman Preceded byKathleen Kane Attorney General of PennsylvaniaActing 2016 Succeeded byBruce Beemer