stormy daniels

Why Trump lawyer took his indictment lies to MSNBC’s Ari Melber

On Tuesday night, in a striking bit of cable news programming, MSNBC host Ari Melber invited Trump attorney Joe Tacopina to the studio to defend his famous client, who may be about to be indicted by one (or more) prosecutors. The segment featured a lot of excuses, and some clearly flawed logic. Tacopina notably argued that Trump’s lies about the Stormy Daniels hush payment weren’t actually lies for at least two reasons: first, because the former president wasn’t under oath when he said them, and second, because he didn’t want to violate a confidentiality clause.

You can’t really blame Trump’s attorney. Prosecutors get to select and curate the facts they take — or don’t take — to trial.

You can’t really blame Trump’s attorney. Prosecutors get to select and curate the facts they take — or don’t take — to trial. Defense attorneys don’t get to pick their facts. They often have to take the facts as they are, and figure out what to do about them on the fly.

That may also answer the obvious question of why Tacopina decided to do a live TV hit in the first place, and try to thread this very tricky needle. The answer? It probably wasn’t his choice. His mission was likely to explain away Trump’s lies while also preemptively undermining the accusations in New York and Georgia.

Did he succeed? Maybe a little, but not because he successfully rebutted any main prosecutorial arguments. Instead, it may have helped distract from the primary issue: whether Trump did anything worthy of prosecution by the New York County DA’s Office.

Distraction and deflection is a good strategy when you have a client that is hard to defend: state a general truth and hope that most of the people listening follow it like a salmon

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Expert: Trump lawyer’s attempt to do “damage control” on TV may have done the opposite

Former President Donald Trump’s new lawyer struggled to defend his client’s actions ahead of a possible indictment in Manhattan over the 2016 hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels. 

Attorney Joe Tacopina, who appeared on multiple news networks this week, laid out Trump’s defense for his role in the $130,000 payment by lodging a series of questionable claims.

“When individuals facing charges are public figures, I think they sometimes want to engage in damage control in the court of public opinion,” former federal prosecutor Barb McQuade told Salon.

But Tacopina’s appearance on MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber” may have done the opposite. 

Melber during the interview questioned Tacopina about why Trump lied at the time that he did not know about his then-attorney Michael Cohen’s payment to Daniels. The attorney disputed that Trump lied, arguing that the former president didn’t lie since the statement was not made under oath. 

“A lie to me is something material, under oath, in a proceeding,” Tacopina said

He went on to clarify why he didn’t consider Trump’s statement to not be a lie.

“Here’s why it’s not a lie,” Tacopina said. “Because it was a confidential settlement so if he acknowledged that, he would be violating the confidential settlement. Is it the truth? Of course it’s not the truth. Was he supposed to tell the truth? He would be in violation of the agreement if he told the truth. So by him doing that, he was abiding not only by his rights, but Stormy Daniels’ rights. I would advise my client to do the same thing.” 

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Cohen testified that he made the payment during the 2016 campaign and was later reimbursed by Trump.

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