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High-Profile Attorney Withdraws From Trump’s Defense Team

High profile — and deeply polarizing — attorney Joseph Tacopina is no longer representing Donald Trump in the ex-president’s cases in New York City. Tacopina had previously represented Trump in a criminal hush money case as well as in E. Jean Carroll’s sexual abuse and defamation civil suit last year.

Reps for Tacopina didn’t immediately reply to request for comment. Trump campaign spokesman Steve Cheung said in a statement that Trump “has the most experienced, qualified, disciplined, and overall strongest legal team ever assembled.”

Trump currently faces a flurry of legal fights across the country. The former president is accused in New York of falsifying business records tied to hush money payments to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, and a federal grand jury indicted Trump over his efforts to steal the 2020 election.

Trump’s lead attorney in that case, Tood Blanche, wrote in an e-mail to Rolling Stone that “Jo[e] worked closely and successfully with our team.”

After winning a $5 million judgement last May, Carroll is set to take Trump to trial once again this week over fresh defamation claims. Tacopina was never representing Trump in that second Carroll case, though he was representing him in an appeal to the initial victory.

Prior to taking on Trump, Tacopina had built a reputation as an attorney representing high profile clients including A$AP Rocky, Meek Mill and Alex Rodriguez. (He’s currently representing A$AP in the rapper’s criminal assault with a firearm case in Los Angeles.) A handful of those cases ended poorly — including an acrimonious parting with former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik.

Some of Trump’s other lawyers had equally strong feelings about Tacopina’s involvement. A source close to the former president previously told Rolling Stone that some of Trump’s other lawyers had called Tacopina “dumb” and a “loudmouth.” A second source called Tacopina “such a frickin’ idiot” after he made the bizarre claim on national television that a lie isn’t a lie unless it’s told under oath.

A third source told Rolling Stone at the time that Tacopina “pisses off others with his antics, but he’s a blunt object that Donald Trump wants, apparently.”

Chad Siegel, Tacopina’s law partner, rejected these statements as “demonstrably false” and suggested the sources have “some clear axe to grind… Mr. Tacopina’s proven track record of trial successes speaks for itself.”

Blanche added, “there is not now and never was any friction or problems among the team.”

UPDATE 1/17/24: The story has been updated to include quotes from Chad Siegel, Tacopina’s law partner, and Todd Blanche, one of Trump’s attorneys.

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