Michael T van der Veen, one of the three attorneys representing Donald Trump in his Senate impeachment trial, once reportedly described the former president as a "f***ing crook" as he represented another client.
The Philadelphia lawyer also worked for a client who sued Mr Trump in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election for making voter fraud claims “despite having no evidence”. And in August 2020, a marketing email from van der Veen’s law firm had castigated Mr Trump’s attempts to suppress mail-in votes.
It was in 2019 when Mr van der Veen made crude remarks while representing Justin Hiemstra, a student at the time, Mr Hiemstra told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Mr Hiemstra was accused of attempting to hack into a government database to obtain Mr Trump’s tax returns. “I’m not sure if [those comments] were made to make me feel more comfortable, or if they were his actual opinions,” he told the paper. “He definitely came off as fairly anti-Trump in the context that I knew him.”
Mr Hiemstra pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years of probation.
In the same report, the Inquirer published a screenshot of a marketing email from Mr van der Veen's firm from August 2020, which said that "Donald Trump doesn't want you to be able to vote". The firm was writing about the decision to file a suit against the US Postal Service "to force it to deliver ballots" for the presidential election.
Mr van der Veen went on to sue Mr Trump, the US Postal Service and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on behalf of independent candidate Melvin Johnakin, accusing Mr Trump of making repeated claims that "voting by mail is ripe with fraud, despite having no evidence" to support it. In the suit, the plaintiff sought "to preserve and protect the essential right to vote and prevent large-scale disenfranchisement."
The lawsuit was later settled in November, as a part of a broader effort to stop the Postal Service from making changes that could delay the mail delivery service, reported the Washington Post.
Speaking to his local paper about his previously reported positions on the former president, Mr van der Veen said his decision to join Mr Trump's defence team had nothing to with his personal views about him, and that he is approaching it like any other case.
“I have a client who is in need of and who deserves the best representation he can get, and that’s what we’re giving," Mr van der Veen was quoted as saying by the paper.
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