Trump loses Joseph Tacopina as lawyer in two cases

Trump loses Joseph Tacopina as lawyer in two cases

Joe Tacopina, Attorney for former President Donald Trump, leaves Federal Court after the civil trial against former President Donald Trump at Manhattan on May 09, 2023 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

Joseph Tacopina has withdrawn as a lawyer for Donald Trump in two major cases facing the former president, one of which could go to trial in two months, the attorney said Monday.

Tacopina declined to comment when asked why he was no longer representing Trump.

His withdrawal from legal matters related to the ex-president came hours before the Iowa Republican caucuses, where Trump is hoping to defeat his GOP challengers by a wide margin.

“President Trump has the most experienced, qualified, disciplined, and overall strongest legal team ever assembled as he continues to fight for America and Americans against these partisan, Crooked Joe Biden-led election interference hoaxes,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in an email when asked about Tacopina’s departure.

Tacopina represented Trump in a civil lawsuit filed by writer E. Jean Carroll, who said he raped her in a New York department store in the mid-1990s, and defamed her in late 2022 when he denied her allegations.

A trial in that case ended with a Manhattan federal court jury finding Trump liable for sexually abusing Carroll and defaming her. The jury also ordered Trump to pay Carroll $5 million in damages.

Trump is appealing that verdict in the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

On Monday, Tacopina filed a notice with the appeals court seeking the withdrawal of his law firm from the case.

A trial on a second, similar defamation lawsuit by Carroll against Trump for comments he made about her while president is set to begin Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. Tacopina was not representing the former president in that case.

Also Monday, Tacopina filed a notice withdrawing from the Manhattan Supreme Court case where he was defending Trump on criminal charges of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to the porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump’s then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 on the eve of the 2016 presidential election to keep her quiet about her account of having sex with Trump years earlier.

Trump, who denies having sex with Daniels, reimbursed Cohen for the payment and other related costs, which were recorded by the Trump Organization as legal expenses.

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Trump pleaded not guilty in that case, which is tentatively scheduled to begin trial in March. He continues to be represented in the case by Susan Necheles and Todd Blanche.

Trump also faces three other pending criminal cases, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to.

In Washington, D.C., federal court, Trump is charged with crimes related to his attempt to reverse his loss in the 2020 election to President Joe Biden, and to his incitement of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot by a mob of his supporters.

Trump faces racketeering charges in Atlanta state court related to his efforts to overturn Biden’s 2020 election victory in Georgia.

He is also charged in Florida federal court with crimes connected to his retention of classified government records after leaving the White House in January 2021, and his efforts to block officials from recovering those documents.

Last week, closing arguments were heard in a major business fraud civil trial against Trump in Manhattan Supreme Court, where New York Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $370 million in damages and a lifetime ban on him from the state’s real estate business.

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