A high-profile criminal lawyer who failed to keep a violently rebellious client out of prison has joined the defense team of former President Donald Trump who is fighting a sexual assault case against him.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York was notified in a filing Tuesday that Joseph Tacopina “appears as counsel for defendant Donald J. Trump,” according to writer E. In a lawsuit filed by Jean Carroll, who accuses Trump of rape. In the dressing room of a Manhattan department store in the mid-1990s.
Tacopina represented Julian Khater, who was sentenced last week to nearly seven years in prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters. Khater admitted to using bear mace to spray several police officers during the siege, including Brian Siknik, who died the next day after suffering two strokes.
Tacopina has detained several notorious defendants, including Joran van der Sloot, the suspected killer of American Natalee Holloway during an Aruba vacation in 2005. Van der Sloot remains the primary suspect in Holloway’s death but has not yet been convicted in her case. (He is serving 28 years in prison for the later murder of Stephanie Flores.)
It was initially widely reported in the media that Tacopina had replaced Trump’s high-profile lawyer Alina Habba after she and Trump were fined nearly $1 million by a Florida judge last month for bringing “completely frivolous” lawsuits. of judicial process.
But Hubba insisted in statements that she was still part of the defense team in the Carroll case and called the reports “fake news.”
Carroll sued Trump for defamation in 2019 after he angrily denied allegations of sexual battery during a White House interview. He claimed that Carol was not his “type” and that she was only out for publicity.
Late last year she filed another lawsuit against him under the recently passed Adult Survivors Act, which temporarily lifts the statute of limitations for one year on civil lawsuits for sex crimes.
Trump’s lawyers have denied the allegations of sexual assault. As for defamation, they have argued that anything Trump said as president was protected from any legal action. But Trump repeated some of the same attacks earlier this year in a post on Truth Social. He called Carroll’s allegation “a complete hoax” and a “fraud and lie.”
Any protection he may have enjoyed as president is likely to disappear after repeating the attacks as a private citizen. Because of Trump’s latest comments, Carroll’s lawyers added another count of defamation to her sexual battery case.
Trump’s recently released statement on the latest suit was incredibly vicious. “I don’t know anything about this nut job,” he said, and threatened to sue her, according to the transcript.
Not being Carroll’s “type,” Trump mistakenly identified the author’s photo as his second ex-wife, Marla Maples.
Ironically, Tacopina has attacked Trump in not-so-veiled comments. He claimed in the sentencing memo that Khater “incited a heated pitch” to breach the Capitol by spreading false information about the 2020 elections.
He also mocked Trump’s claim that attacking Carroll over her sexual-battery allegations was somehow part of his “official” duties as president.
“Trump calling an alleged rape victim … a liar is not an act of his official capacity,” he told CNBC in 2020.