Meet Joseph Tacopina, the outspoken lawyer defending Trump in 'political prosecution'
New York lawyer Joseph Tacopina speaks during a news conference Sept. 2, 2021, in Schoharie, New York. Photo by Hans Pennink/The Associated Press.
New York lawyer Joseph Tacopina began been defending former President Donald Trump in multiple TV appearances even before news of the indictment broke Thursday.
Tacopina has said Trump was a victim of extortion when hush-money payments were made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The 2016 payment was designed to avoid the embarrassment of her untrue allegations of an affair, regardless of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, he said. The legal system, he said, was “completely weaponized.”
When Trump signed off on the payments, he was merely following the advice of his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, he told NBC News.
After multiple publications reported the indictment Thursday, Tacopina and co-counsel Susan Necheles released a statement.
Trump has been indicted, they said. “President Trump did not commit any crime. We will vigorously fight this political prosecution in court,” they said.
Those who follow Tacopina have no doubt that the fight will be vigorous.
“Thankfully for Trump,” according to New York Magazine’s Intelligencer column, “his new attorney is not in the business of losing very often. For almost 30 years, Tacopina has been winning cases for celebrities, cops and other denizens of ‘Page Six,’ earning him a reputation as one of the city’s most high-profile defense attorneys thanks to one skill in particular. ‘I’ve been told by many that I’m the best cross-examiner in the country,’ he said. When he was 20 years younger, he described his tactics simply: ‘I will do it slowly and methodically. And I will make sure the jury sees your innards coming out of you.’”
Law360 began its profile of Tacopina this way: “Combative, media-obsessed and a willing consort to questionable characters—Donald J. Trump found a kindred spirit in the New York lawyer who will represent him in a historic criminal prosecution.”
Tapocina is a Brooklyn, New York City, native who attended Skidmore College in upstate New York and the University of Bridgeport’s law school, which was acquired by Quinnipiac University, according to the New York Times. He was admitted to the bar in 1992.
Tacopina became a Brooklyn prosecutor before becoming a criminal defense lawyer. His clients have included police officers, rapper Meek Mill, rapper A$AP Rocky, singer Michael Jackson, baseball player Alex Rodriguez, Fox News personality Sean Hannity, Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and radio personality Don Imus.
Above the Law suggests that Daniels was also a client of Tacopina. Tacopina told CNN in 2018 that he had a consultation with Daniels, but he couldn’t talk about it because “there is an attorney-client privilege that attaches even to a consultation.”
That statement could lead prosecutors to seek to disqualify Tacopina, Above the Law says.
“On the other hand,” the blog says, “Tacopina seems inclined to go on television and rant about his client’s legal strategy at length, so perhaps he’s worth keeping around.”
ABAJournal.com: “Experts see these problems with felony-records case against Trump over hush-money payments”
ABAJournal.com: “Lawyers for Trump and rape accuser square off over DNA offer”
ABAJournal.com: “Selective-prosecution argument in Trump falsified-records case is ‘long shot’ that may still resonate”
ABAJournal.com: “Trump could conceivably run for president and even govern the US from prison, legal scholars say”