Donald Trump’s attorney admitted that the former president’s recent social post attacking Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was “ill-advised,” though he also noted that he is not his client’s social media adviser.
Lawyer Joe Tacopina was pressed during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about Trump’s post on Truth Social, which included a since-deleted image of himself holding a baseball bat near an image of Bragg with his hands up.
“Mr. Trump has described District Attorney Alvin Bragg this week as a ‘Soros-backed animal,’ said he was ‘doing the work of anarchists and the devil,’ called him a ‘degenerate psychopath,’ he called him a Soros ‘racist in reverse’ and ‘this is the Gestapo,’” NBC host Chuck Todd said. “As his lawyer, do you stand by those comments?”
“As his lawyer, I want to dissect this case because it’s a case that shouldn’t be brought and wouldn’t be brought before anyone other than Donald Trump,” Tacopina responded. “Let’s be clear about that.
“Does anyone actually think, left, right or in the middle, that anyone else would be prosecuted for making a civil settlement in a hush-money case with personal funds? Of course not,” he went on. “No one’s ever been prosecuted for that. You know, the closest we’ve come is John Edwards back in that day where a donor paid $900,000 for his mistress and child to be housed somewhere. That case was ultimately dismissed by the Department of Justice after they couldn’t get a conviction. And that was with a donor.”
“The distinction here is so vast, and it’s clear to anyone, again, if you’re a supporter of Donald Trump or don’t like anything about Donald Trump, we should all be concerned as citizens in this country about the weaponization of a prosecutor’s office. And that is what this is,” he added.
“Would you advise a client to personally attack a prosecutor like this?” Todd said. “I mean it’s dehumanizing, Mr. Tacopina.”
“Again, I’m not his social media consultant,” Tacopina responded. “I think that was an ill-advised post that one of his social media people put up, and he quickly took [it] down when he realized the photo that was attached to it.”
“You’re referring to the baseball bat,” Todd said. “He didn’t take down the other rhetoric.”
“You’re referring to the baseball bat thing, which, of course, was featured in the New York Post cover. New York Post thought it was a pretty rough hit. Here’s the thing: We went through Jan. 6. So, this is not like a possibility that Trump’s rhetoric creates violence. It’s already happened once. Are you not concerned this could happen?”
“I’m not accepting that proposition that his rhetoric created violence. I think violence was on the way that day. But I’m not here to discuss that, Chuck,” Tacopina said. “I’m not going to defend or condemn anything regarding social media. That’s not what I do. I’m not a Trump PR person. I’m a litigator and a lawyer. And I’m talking about this case in Manhattan, which is a case that would not be brought for anyone other than Donald Trump.”
Todd and Tacopina further debated whether Trump used personal funds to finance the hush-money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels during his 2016 election campaign.
“Honestly, I think you’re being a little petty when you’re looking at this now,” Tacopina told Todd, “because there is no filing obligation. You can put whatever you want in your own personal ledger. If there’s a tax obligation, that would be one thing. If he had taken campaign funds, that would be something else. Neither of these things happened here.”
Later in the program, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara joined Todd in the studio.
Bharara took aim at Tacopina’s argument that the case against Trump is unprecedented, saying that assumption is “just wrong.” Bharara also defended Bragg as “careful and deliberate” in carrying out a year-long investigation against the former president, saying Bragg is not rushing to indict Trump.
In referring to Bragg’s convicted felon star witness, he added, “Michael Cohen is the less culpable person if a crime was committed.”