Donald Trump has lost another lawyer. Joseph Tacopina, who is known for his success in defending high-profile clients, announced that he will be leaving the former president’s team defending him in his criminal trial in Manhattan.
In April 2023, New York District Attorney Bragg charged the former president with 34 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree.
“The People of the State of New York allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal crimes that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election,” Bragg said in a statement. “Manhattan is home to the country’s most significant business market. We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to cover up criminal conduct. As the Statement of Facts describes, the trail of money and lies exposes a pattern that, the People allege, violates one of New York’s basic and fundamental business laws. As this office has done time and time again, we today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law.”
Tacopina told ABC News, “I withdrew on all matters.”
Tacopina accompanied Trump when the former president pleaded not guilty in New York last April to charges that he falsified business records stemming from his hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Prosecutors with the Manhattan DA’s office allege that Trump engaged in a “scheme” to boost his election chances during the 2016 presidential race through a series of hush money payments made by others to help his campaign, and then “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records” to conceal that criminal conduct. Trump has denied all wrongdoing.
In a letter to Judge Juan Merchan, the judge overseeing the case, Tacopina wrote, “I write to respectfully inform the Court that my firm, Chad Seigel and I hereby withdraw as counsel for Defendant Donald J. Trump in this proceeding.
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for the former president, told Reuters that “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.”
The New York Times noted, “Mr. Tacopina also withdrew on Monday from another case in which he was still legally representing Mr. Trump: an appeal of the verdict in a lawsuit brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll. Mr. Trump was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation last year and was ordered to pay Ms. Carroll $5 million.
Mr. Trump’s legal team has shrunk, expanded and turned over many times. But Mr. Tacopina, a pugnacious, New York-based defense lawyer, has a long history of trial court wins.
He has represented high-profile clients ranging from the Fox News host Sean Hannity, who on his show called Mr. Tacopina one of the “greatest defense attorneys of all time,” to the former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez and the rapper A$AP Rocky.”
Tacopina declined to share why he withdrew from the president’s defense team.