In hush money probe, Trump’s lawyer is anything but quiet

The accelerating probe into former President Trump’s involvement in a hush-money scandal has a new face, one eager to hit the airwaves ahead of any potential criminal charges.

Joe Tacopina made the rounds on TV this week, enthusiastically defending the former president in the court of public opinion as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg appears to be wrapping up his presentation to a grand jury reviewing a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump himself on Saturday said his arrest could come Tuesday, lashing out at New York authorities.

“Protest, take our nation back!” Trump said in a post on Truth Social, calling on supporters to protest his potential arrest. 

Tacopina’s style has drawn comparison to that of his client, dismissing the probe as one that should prompt “a healthy dose of disgust from the bar, the legal community, prosecutors, defense lawyers alike.”

He’s defended Trump for falsely saying he was unaware of the payment — “Of course it’s not the truth,” he said on MSNBC this week — and claimed that the exchange in no way violated campaign finance laws, the very charge former Trump fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to. 

Tacopina’s flashy entrance comes amid a flurry of activity in the probe.

The grand jury this week heard from Cohen, while Daniels met with prosecutors in what she said was part of her “continuing fight for truth and justice.”

Trump has denied having a relationship with Daniels, but a potential case would largely center on the former president’s role in directing the payment and whether doing so just days before the 2016 election violated campaign finance laws. Trump’s company labeled Cohen’s reimbursement of the payment as a legal expense and did not disclose them in campaign finance reports.

Tacopina, a former Brooklyn prosecutor, has made national television appearances that stretch back decades as he racked up a client list including celebrities such as Michael Jackson, A-Rod, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky and Don Imus.

“The guy is just made for television,” Phil Griffin, MSNBC’s former president, told Westport Magazine in 2002. “He’s got the looks, he’s got the voice, that all plays into it, but it’s really his authority and his honesty that are so refreshing. There are guests who fill the time with banter, and there’s Joe, who’s like, ‘You’re wrong!’”

Tacopina did not respond to questions from The Hill.

He has also represented Trump allies in the past, including Bernard Kerik, a former New York police commissioner who also aided Rudy Giuliani’s team in investigating purported voter fraud in the 2020 election. Tacopina served as Kerik’s attorney in a case where he ultimately pleaded guilty to tax fraud and other charges in 2007, later being pardoned by Trump.

But Kerik’s relationship with Tacopina soured. The former police commissioner tapped Tim Parlatore, now an attorney representing Trump in matters before special counsel Jack Smith, to launch a suit alleging malpractice after Tacopina spoke to federal authorities about the…

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