Trump attorney 'hopeful' DA will not press charges against former president
"We're sort of in the dark at this point," said Joe Tacopina. "And we're just waiting for the process to play out."
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Former President Donald Trump's personal attorney Joe Tacopina expressed hope on Friday that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would not pursue charges against his client, citing the weak nature of a potential case.
Appearing on the "Just the News, No Noise" television show, Tacopina outlined the arguments in defense of his client. The case, denounced by some legal experts as a farce, centers around a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels in 2016 on the theory that it may have been a campaign finance violation.
The Trump campaign "didn't didn't have any part in this resolution," said Tacopina, explaining that the payment was made with personal funds and would have occurred regardless of the election.
"The key test here," he said, "is was that payment made or expenditure made irrespective of the campaign? ... And the answer to that question is certainly yes. This was regarding something that would have been a personal embarrassment to the president and his family from over a decade ago, which he vehemently denies.
"But still, just the the allegation being put out there would have been personally embarrassing. That's why this was resolved. And that's why it was done with personal funds, not campaign funds. And that's why there was no tax deduction taken. And that's why the campaign didn't didn't have any part in this resolution."
The charge Trump could face rests on the theory that he recorded the payment to his then-personal attorney Michael Cohen as legal fees in order to hide what could be construed as an illegal campaign contribution.
Cohen would likely be a key witness in any trial, and Tacopina pointed to his status as a convicted perjurer. The former Trump attorney's credibility again came under fire following the recent resurfacing of a letter from Cohen's attorney to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) attesting that Trump was not involved in any payment to Daniels and that the disbarred lawyer paid out of his own pocket.
"I'm still hopeful," said Tacopina, "that based on the recent developments, the new information and new testimony and evidence that came out against Michael Cohen ... that Alvin Bragg is true to his former statement, which was ... that he can't envision a world where he makes a case off the word of Michael Cohen."
Tacopina contended that Daniels herself was unlikely to play a major role in the case, as it revolves around a legal theory that the payment was a campaign finance violation rather than the alleged affair. He did, however, note that Daniels previously signed documents denying the alleged relationship occurred.
"I don't even think Stormy Daniels was a witness in this case," he said. "She didn't testify before the grand jury, we understand, according to her lawyer. And she's really not a material witness to the case. This is a case that's based on whether or not there was a campaign finance law violation or not."
Tacopina confirmed that Trump has not yet received a target notification from prosecutors telling him he will likely face an indictment. The former president announced a week ago Saturday that he expected to be arrested three days later on Tuesday, but that deadline came and went, leaving many to speculate that Bragg has gotten cold feet.
"We're sort of in the dark at this point," Tacopina admitted. "And we're just waiting for the process to play out. You know, I'm still hopeful that justice will prevail and common sense will get the better of someone inside that office. But until and unless that happens, we're just waiting for news like everyone else is."
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.