One of the attorneys who represented Donald Trump during the former President’s second impeachment trial is preparing to defend one of the 16 Capitol riot defendants charged in a sweeping Oath Keepers conspiracy case.
Longtime Philadelphia personal injury attorney Michael T. van der Veen, who was added to Trump’s impeachment defense team in February, on Monday filed a motion to appear pro hac vice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of 44-year-old Jason Dolan, a 20-year Marine veteran. The motion was granted Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta.
Prosecutors say that Dolan, who went by the moniker “Turmoil,” had been in communication with known members of the far-right militia group for weeks prior to Jan. 6, driving a rental car from Florida to D.C. to help stop the certification of the Electoral College votes. Charging documents further allege that Dolan was one of 14 people to form “the Stack” of Oath Keepers that “maneuvered in an organized fashion up the steps on the east side of the Capitol—each member keeping at least one hand on the shoulder of the other in front of them.”
“At the top of the steps, the Stack joined and then pushed forward alongside a mob that aggressively advanced towards the Columbus Doors at the central east entrance to the Capitol, assaulted the officers guarding the doors, threw objects and sprayed chemicals towards the officers and the door, and pulled violently on the doors,” the criminal complaint stated, noting that the defendants continued to use the hand-on-shoulder method after entering the Capitol building.
Dolan is charged with conspiracy, obstruction, destruction of government property, and trespassing in a restricted building.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Matthewman last week ruled that Dolan was not a threat to the community and set his bond at $100,000. However, at the request of federal prosecutors, Matthewman’s bond ruling was stayed until Wednesday to allow the government to submit a motion challenging Dolan’s release order and requesting he remain in pretrial detention. A detention hearing has been scheduled for Friday to decide the matter.
Van der Veen provided several eyebrow-raising moments in February when he appeared before the U.S. Senate to defend Trump against the impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection.
As previously reported by Law&Crime, just months before taking over Trump’s impeachment defense team, van der Veen had filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the then-president’s role in undermining the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and his baseless claims of mail-in voter fraud would disenfranchise Pennsylvania citizens. The complaint alleged that Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy had “taken actions in the form of operational changes which will result in widespread, multiple-day delays in mail delivery and deprive Pennsylvania voters of the fundamental right to vote and have that vote counted.”
Van der Veen and the other attorneys on Trump’s impeachment team later came under fire for severely misrepresenting the work of Michigan State University law professor Brian Kalt in their legal brief to argue that the U.S. Constitution only allows for the impeachment of sitting officials and therefore cannot be utilized against a president who has already left office.
The attorney also memorably elicted laughs in the Senate chamber when he suggested that impeachment witness depositions should be done in his private law office in Phillydelphia. The day before Trump’s second impeachment acquittal, van der Veen’s home was targeted and defaced by vandals.
“My home was attacked. I’d rather not go into that,” van der Veen said. “My entire family, my business, my law firm are under siege right now.”
See below for van der Veen’s motion to appear pro hac vice.
[image via CBS News screengrab]
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