Trump Lawyer Joe Tacopina is fairly positive he can get Trump exonerated

He’s a flashy New York lawyer with a observe file of getting well-known purchasers out of robust jams. Now he needs to do the identical for Donald Trump.

Joe Tacopina is likely one of the legal professionals representing Donald Trump within the felony case associated to hush cash paid to former porn-star Stormy Daniels. (Christopher Gregory-Rivera)

NEW YORK — Joe Tacopina wasn’t searching for anybody’s permission to symbolize Donald Trump. “I used to be going to do what I felt proper doing,” Tacopina says. Even so, the protection lawyer felt it correct to dial up a few of his superstar purchasers and allies — A$AP Rocky, Meek Mill, some others — to ship the information himself. “Out of respect, as a courtesy,” he says. Additionally: “I simply needed to listen to what a few of these different folks — how they might react.”

As Tacopina remembers it, “All of them stated the identical factor: ‘Simply do what you do. You’re a litigator.’” No matter emotions they’d about Trump, he says, they saved to themselves.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who acquired one such name, has not been so withholding. “I’ve stated to him, ‘I simply want you had not taken this case — what this man has performed is damaging,’” says Sharpton. However, the civil rights activist — who first met Tacopina years in the past, on an MSNBC panel — conceded that everybody wants a authorized protection. “We ended it by saying no matter you select, we’ll stay friend-ly,” he says, “however you realize, I’m gonna be taking photographs at your shopper.”

Serving to well-known (and notorious) individuals who discover themselves in tight spots — that’s how Tacopina made his title. His purchasers have included Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees shortstop who sued Main League Baseball over a doping suspension; Lillo Brancato, the “Sopranos” actor acquitted of homicide within the 2005 killing of a New York Metropolis police officer; Joran van der Sloot, a suspect within the 2006 disappearance of 18-year-old Natalee Holloway in Aruba; and Kimberly Guilfoyle, fiancee of Donald Trump Jr., when she appeared final 12 months earlier than the Home committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. He’s additionally taken on the circumstances of well-known rappers like Mill, for whom Tacopina overturned a drug and gun cost, Rocky, who’s dealing with felony firearm expenses, and YG — who, by the way, co-wrote the anti-Trump protest track “FDT,” which stands for precisely what you assume it does.

And now, Tacopina is doing his factor for Trump. He’s co-counsel, with Susan Necheles and Todd Blanche, within the Manhattan district lawyer’s felony prosecution over hush cash Trump paid to adult-film star Stormy Daniels by then-lawyer Michael Cohen. Trump has pleaded not responsible to 34 felony counts of falsifying enterprise information. Tacopina can also be defending Trump in a lawsuit introduced by E. Jean Carroll, a author who has accused Trump of sexually assaulting her in a department-store dressing room within the mid-Nineteen Nineties. That case is slated to go to trial later this month.

It’s apparent why Trump would rent Tacopina to symbolize him in a Manhattan courtroom. Tacopina is a flashy, brawny bulldog of an lawyer, like a inventory picture of a New York Metropolis trial lawyer come to life. Like Trump, Tacopina is a tabloid determine, incomes superlatives starting from “New York’s most hated lawyer” (The Daily Mail) to “New York’s hottest lawyer” (GQ). He’s skilled at trial, and has one other vital ability: He is aware of how one can be a lawyer on tv. Tacopina has been a greenroom common for many years, and Trump has privately praised his TV appearances.

And why would Tacopina symbolize Trump? He has two standards for taking over a case: “If I believe somebody’s been actually wronged, and I actually fall in love with an individual,” Tacopina says. To him, the previous president meets each.

There have been jabs from late-night comics: Jimmy Kimmel stated Tacopina was “born within the ashtray of Rudy Giuliani’s Lincoln Continental,” whereas SNL dubbed him “Phony Soprano.” Plus, the previous president is a notoriously tough shopper. Some legal professionals reportedly wouldn’t work for him as a result of they fear he’d stiff them on a invoice. Others have discovered themselves enmeshed in their own legal troubles after serving to Trump along with his.

Tacopina, who claims to be lacking a “worry gene,” says he isn’t anxious about any of it. Trump’s been paying him in a “well timed method,” he says, and the insults don’t hassle him. As for locating himself Michael Cohen-ed: “That’s not me — it’s by no means gonna be me.”

What does make him a bit anxious, nevertheless, is this text — at the same time as he welcomed The Washington Put up into his Manhattan workplace and held forth on an array of subjects, together with his work for Trump, the rumors of rigidity between him and different Trump attorneys (he complimented his co-counsels, saying “There’s a zero-ego zone right here”), his exercise schedule, his historical past of purchasing Italian soccer clubs, the dinner he says he had with A$AP Rocky and Rihanna the night time earlier than the Tremendous Bowl, the time he almost punched opposing counsel throughout the A-Rod case …

“My largest worry ever assembly with you or something like that is I come throughout a pompous a–,” he stated. “I’m actually not making an attempt to be. I’m who am. I care about what I do. I don’t consider in my very own bulls—.”

Tacopina’s likeness is affixed to each floor of the Madison Avenue legislation workplaces of Tacopina, Seigel, & DeOreo — in newspaper images, journal profiles and tabloid headlines mounted behind plexiglass. His private workplace — a brief stroll previous poster-size courtroom drawings from a few of Tacopina’s high-profile trials — is a shrine to his assorted clientele. Pictures of him and A-Rod. A signed thank-you be aware from Meek Mill. A “Humanitarian of the Yr” award from Sharpton for his work on the Mill case.

Tacopina’s corporeal type heaves by the workplace entryway, 10 minutes delayed. He apologizes for his lateness: He’s coming back from a gathering at Trump Tower 15 blocks uptown. The previous president had been arraigned two days earlier and Tacopina, a cable information fixture within the weeks main as much as it, declares himself “performed with that TV s—.” The cable-news blitz had been a bid to move off the indictment within the courtroom of public opinion. That hadn’t labored, and Trump’s courtroom look had begotten its personal media circus. Now, briefly free from the obligations of courtrooms and greenrooms, Tacopina has traded his Italian fits for a cashmere turtleneck and denims so tight they appear shrink-wrapped to his thighs.

Tacopina, 57, speaks in a gravelly baritone that bears the accent of a working-class Italian upbringing in Brooklyn. As a Manhattan lawyer, he cultivated a style for the lavish — good watches, luxurious vehicles, a 49-foot yacht. He says he’s ditched most of these trappings in recent times, although his informal look features a Patek Philippe wristwatch so rare it final bought for $3.2 million at public sale. He works out 5 days every week — together with the morning earlier than Trump’s arraignment. (“I can’t not try this,” he says. “After I don’t try this, I get right into a low-energy spot.”) He has a number of tattoos, together with certainly one of a Roman eagle on his proper hip.

His total aesthetic solutions the query: What if Billy Flynn, the tap-dancing lawyer from the musical “Chicago,” was swallowed complete by Lou Ferrigno? “I’ve a look, clearly — I don’t appear to be each lawyer,” Tacopina says. “He’s a persona in New York, in a great way,” says Lara Treinis Gatz, a former federal prosecutor. “He’s a road fighter, however with monogrammed French cuffs.”

He bought his begin as a prosecutor within the early Nineteen Nineties and have become a protection lawyer in 1995, incomes a repute as a defender of New York Metropolis cops accused of grisly crimes — like an officer involved within the alleged sodomization of a detained suspect with a broomstick. He gained an acquittal for two detectives, dubbed by the tabloids because the “rape cops,” who had been accused within the alleged sexual assault of a drunk lady in her East Village house. “Generally Joe is sort of too good,” jokes Invoice Stanton, a non-public investigator, of Tacopina’s knack for representing purchasers dealing with unsavory expenses.

A number of denizens of New York’s authorized world criticized Tacopina’s type and clientele. None had been prepared to take action on the file.

“As co-counsel, he’s great,” says Marilyn Chinitz, a divorce lawyer who labored on a case with Tacopina. “As an adversary, watch out.”

Within the days main as much as Trump’s indictment, the previous president’s Fact Social account posted {a photograph} of Trump holding a baseball bat juxtaposed with a portrait of District Lawyer Alvin Bragg. The submit had been broadly interpreted as a risk, and the choose condemned Trump’s “irresponsible” social media posts throughout his arraignment. As a substitute of defending the habits, Tacopina went to TV to name it “ill-advised.”

“I’m not embracing or defending that, I’m not doing it — I’m doing me,” Tacopina says now, in his workplace. “I’m a hard-charger and all that stuff, however my credibility is what I care about as a lot as something. I’m not gonna say one thing simply to say one thing.”

Tacopina, who as soon as filmed a pilot for his personal actuality present (“kind of a ‘Decide Judy’ meets ‘Perry Mason,’” he told GQ on the time), flinches at comparisons between himself and Trump. He needs folks to think about him, and his involvement within the former president’s authorized protection, as substantive — a matter of legislation, not politics or character. “Joe actually, deep down, thinks that there’s unhealthy legislation right here,” Sharpton says of the hush cash case. Plus, “he doesn’t bow away from a tricky battle,” he provides, “although he could have a dud as his shopper.”

Trump first sought out Tacopina’s authorized providers years in the past, he says, however Tacopina turned him down. “I can’t get into, precisely, what,” Tacopina says of Trump’s request from again then. “It wasn’t the suitable time, it wasn’t the suitable case.” However final December, Trump reached out once more, and Tacopina made his strategy to Mar-a-Lago in January, lingering simply lengthy sufficient to type out which circumstances he’d tackle: Carroll’s lawsuit and Bragg’s felony prosecution.

How are the circumstances comparable, and has he thought of how he’ll strategy each?

“Each circumstances wouldn’t be in a courthouse if it weren’t Donald Trump as a defendant. Each. So it may be kind of the identical kind of Joe in each,” Tacopina says. Then he begins freewheeling on technique.

“You already know, after I did the ‘rape cops’ case — I bought an acquittal in that one — that was a tough case. I imply, these guys had been referred to as rape cops for two years. Not alleged rape cops — they had been referred to as ‘rape cops’! Presumption of innocence apart, ‘rape cops’! However that’s the title of the case — that turned the ‘rape cop’ drama. So I picked the very sensible jury — I picked, like, 5 Ivy Leaguers on that jury. I related with them saying, ‘Look, guys, it’s a must to be offended. You simply gave 9 weeks of your life on this room, listening on a regular basis to each piece of proof. The folks popping out and in of the courtroom on wonderful days — like a summation day or when the principle witness testified — and write articles that inform you how the case ought to find yourself — that needs to be offensive to you guys. Use your mind’ and whatnot. And after I cross-examined her — somebody who I consider was utterly embellishing — there was no, like, ‘rarrr.’ It was very kind of smooth, surgical, and methodical, clearly. I didn’t wish to take the chance of — although I wasn’t saying she was a sufferer, she was credible and one thing did occur to her, disagreeable, that night time.”

However in the case of cross-examining Michael Cohen, the ex-Trump lawyer who is predicted to be a key witness towards Trump in Bragg’s case, “You’ll most likely see fangs popping out of my mouth.”

What would it not imply to Tacopina to win?

“First-ballot Corridor of Famer as a lawyer,” he says.

He laughs, then slackens his smile into a skinny line of concern. “It will actually imply that regardless of all the percentages being stacked towards us on this county — regardless of folks saying we will’t get a good trial or a good choose or honest something — that the system nonetheless does work.”

Tacopina compares the stakes of his work for Trump to the famous quote by the Rev. Martin Niemöller the one which describes bystander failing to talk up when the Nazis come for various teams, one after the other, till they got here for me — and there was nobody left to talk for me. He compares his job to that of John Adams, when America’s second president was the reluctant protection lawyer for the British within the Boston Bloodbath.

“He was the best criminal-defense lawyer,” Tacopina says of Adams. “He takes on essentially the most unpopular case in U.S. historical past and he was capable of get them acquitted.”

“I don’t wish to make myself appear extra vital than I’m.”

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