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Earlier than he represented Trump, protection legal professional speculated Stormy Daniels saga was true

CNN  — 

Former President Donald Trump’s protection legal professional repeatedly speculated as a authorized pundit that Trump’s alleged affair with Stormy Daniels possible occurred and that the $130,000 cost made to Daniels days earlier than the 2016 election could possibly be seen as an in-kind marketing campaign contribution, contradicting his latest authorized and public protection of Trump.

Joe Tacopina, a protection legal professional representing Trump within the Manhattan District Legal professional’s Workplace investigation of Trump, made the feedback in 2018 as a outstanding authorized commentator – years earlier than he would finally characterize the previous president within the case that will indict Trump.

In a number of appearances on CNN within the spring of 2018, Tacopina speculated that Trump had an affair with Daniels after she detailed their encounter and since “to me, you understand it means it’s true as a result of he hasn’t threatened to sue” nor did he tweet about it. He additionally mentioned that as a lawyer, he would have suggested Trump to confess to the affair and transfer on.

“I imply, it’s exceptional whenever you discuss concerning the president of the USA, however it, actually, it’s not exceptional whenever you’re speaking about Donald Trump, the president of the USA,” Tacopina mentioned. “Nobody was right here, goes, ‘Oh my God, I can’t imagine this!’ This is the reason I’ve been saying since day one if that they had simply mentioned, ‘Yeah, OK.’ I imply, he survived a lot larger – I don’t even know in the event that they’re known as scandals – however episodes than this. That is from 2006. I imply, that is manner earlier than he was the president.”

“I’ve mentioned all alongside, if he had simply come out and mentioned, ‘Yeah, I did. So what?’ And simply chalk that as much as one other one of many issues on his listing of minor scandals, he will get by way of,” mentioned Tacopina in one other look on CNN in 2018.

“However she went into nice element about her one-night stand with him. What else can she say? There may be nothing else to inform,” added Tacopina.

And within the spring of 2018, Tacopina acknowledged that the episode may put Trump in jeopardy “as a result of this could possibly be regarded as an in-kind contribution on the time of the election. This can be a actual drawback. And so they each, and I’m telling you this, the rationale we’re right here, I strongly imagine is due to the phrases of each Michael Cohen and Donald Trump.”

However 5 years later, performing as Trump’s protection legal professional, Tacopina reversed his argument, calling the cost to Daniels “plain extortion,” dismissing potential marketing campaign finance violations and repeating Trump’s denials that he ever had the affair.

“This was a plain extortion. And I don’t know, since once we’ve determined to begin prosecuting extortion victims. He’s denied, vehemently denied, this affair,” mentioned Tacopina on “Good Morning America” final week. “However he needed to pay cash as a result of there was going to be an allegation that was gonna be publicly embarrassing to him, whatever the marketing campaign. And the marketing campaign finance legal guidelines are very, very clear, George, that you simply can not have one thing that’s even primarily associated to the marketing campaign to be thought of marketing campaign finance regulation.”

In a press release to CNN, Tacopina mentioned that he provided his opinion primarily based on a hypothetical and that “my thoughts hadn’t modified concerning the problem however what has modified is that I realized the info.”

The remark is only one of many who Tacopina made concerning the former president, in response to a CNN KFile assessment of different feedback. In a single look, made in February 2021 on WABC radio, an area New York station, Tacopina mentioned Trump deserved impeachment for his verbal assaults inciting his supporters – who he known as “a bunch of idiots” and “lunatics” – to assault the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

“I don’t suppose he did something felony,” Tacopina mentioned on WABC in February 2021 when discussing the riot. “Did I feel he did one thing impeachable? Sure, I do.”

“Do I feel they’re divisive? Sure. Do I feel he spreads hate? Sure. Do I feel every little thing he’s executed is flawed? No. Do I feel he did some good issues? Sure. So I like to only form of name it like I see it, and I’m not so partisan a method or one other,” Tacopina continued. “However you understand, whenever you say to a bunch of lunatics, a bunch of, you understand, individuals who have had a propensity in direction of violence. Earlier than these teams which are gathered, you understand, which was a deliberate gathering, ‘Hey, go to the Capitol and struggle and struggle.’ Battle for what? Go to the Capitol and struggle for what does struggle imply to those idiots? What do you suppose it meant?…They killed individuals.”

“Do I feel he thought they had been gonna break some home windows and do some issues? Completely,” he later added.

Tacopina would later characterize one of many Capitol rioters who assaulted Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who later died of pure causes on January 7; the rioter was sentenced to 80 months in jail.

Tacopina additionally beforehand criticized the previous president for attacking the justice system.

“That is the Justice Division, the way it works each single day of the week. However for some purpose, the president can not address that,” mentioned Tacopina in 2018.

“What chills me as a lawyer, neglect about being a protection lawyer or a former prosecutor as I’m, is that our president is attacking the inspiration of our justice system on this nation by calling to query the FBI, the Justice Division, his personal legal professional common, each decide whoever guidelines in opposition to him. Yeah, it’s simply unhealthy for the form of the well being of this justice system.”

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