By Katabella Roberts
An attorney for Donald Trump has said the former president’s claim that he would be arrested last week was based on “a lot of leaks coming out of the district attorney’s office” in Manhattan and that he did not make it up.
Attorney Joe Tacopina made the comment on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on March 26 when asked whether Trump had lied about the indictment claim.
“There had been a leak … that Monday, the day before that Tuesday, there was a law enforcement meeting, including Secret Service and NYPD, that was going to go through the logistics of the arraignment. And then there was, of course, a lot of rumors regarding the arraignment being the next day,” Tacopina said. “So he just, I think he just assumed based on those leaks that that’s what was going to happen.”
“So it wasn’t about making it up, and certainly he doesn’t want to be arrested,” the attorney said of Trump.
Tacopina was then asked if anybody from the Manhattan district attorney’s office had ever informed him of any “special arrangements” regarding Trump and a possible arrangement, and whether the former president then learned of a possible arrest through his lawyer.
“No, not through us. I mean, we’ve been in touch with the district attorney’s office regarding potential logistics of an arraignment, if it gets to that point. But certainly, it didn’t come from us. It came from the leaks that we all read in the newspaper that Monday, or the Friday preceding,” Tacopina said.
Trump Says He Expects to Be Indicted
Trump said in a post on Truth Social on March 18 that he expected to be indicted, citing an alleged leak from the Manhattan DA’s office, and called on his supporters to protest and “take our nation back!”
The former president insisted that no crime has been proven and that the possible indictment in the case would be “based on an old & fully debunked (by numerous other prosecutors!) fairy tale.”
Prosecutors have reportedly been eyeing an indictment of Trump in relation to a $130,000 payment from his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to adult entertainment actress Stormy Daniels, during his 2016 campaign.
Daniels claims to have had an affair with Trump, which he denies. Cohen has said that he was directed by the former president to arrange the payment to Daniels to buy her silence over the alleged affair.
The money, according to Cohen, was allegedly paid using campaign funds, which would be a violation of campaign finance law.
Despite Trump’s claims of a pending indictment, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has not publicly commented on a possible arrest of the former president and no charges against Trump have been announced.
Following a rally in Waco, Texas, on Saturday, Trump, who is running for president again in 2024, told reporters he believes Bragg may have dropped his case against him.
“I think they’ve already dropped the case … they have absolutely nothing,” Trump said, without providing further details. “It’s a fake case. Some fake cases, they have absolutely nothing.”
‘No Evidence at All’
He made similar assertions on Truth Social on Sunday where he wrote that Bragg’s case against him is “DEAD” and there is “no evidence at all” that he did anything wrong. Trump also dismissed Cohen as a “disbarred lawyer & convicted Felon.”
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges of tax evasion, making false statements to a federally insured bank, and campaign finance violations in connection with the payment to Daniels.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Tacopina told NBC that Americans should be concerned about what he called the “weaponization of a prosecutor’s office.”
“And that is what this is. I swear to you, in my 32 years as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, I’ve never seen an abuse of discretion like this,” Tacopina said. “You can’t bring a case, cobble two misdemeanors together to try and make a felony and meet the statute limitations when not one misdemeanor exists. There is no crime here. There’s not even a bad act.”
A number of Republican lawmakers including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have also voiced concerns about Bragg’s case against Trump.
Trump is also being investigated by a special grand jury in Georgia and by the Department of Justice over his handling of allegedly classified documents that were seized from his Florida Mar-a-Lago home by federal agents in early August. He is also being probed over statements he made on the day of the Capitol breach in 2021.
He has denied wrongdoing in those instances.
An indictment against Trump would make history as the first-ever of a former U.S. president.