By Gary Bai
Joseph Tacopina, attorney for former President Donald Trump, has accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of violating prosecutorial conduct in his case against Trump.
In an interview with The Epoch Times, Tacopina noted that he had filed a recommendation to an oversight body requesting an investigation on Bragg.
The remarks came a day after Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, said on Fox News’ “Hannity” that Bragg should be investigated for bringing into the proceedings former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who reportedly became a star witness in the grand jury investigation issues surrounding Trump’s alleged involvement in hush money Cohen paid to adult entertainment actress Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, saying he’s a victim of extortion.
“I have never seen a weaker case, and, in the end, I really do think that Bragg is worried about his own bar card. I think he’s worried that [if] he brings this case, and he uses a witness who he has to know is lying, there could be investigations of [Bragg], and there should be investigations,” Dershowitz said, referring to Cohen.
The testimony of Cohen, who claims that he paid Daniels at Trump’s direction, is likely to be critical in establishing charges against Trump, which experts expect to be felony falsifying business records. That charge would require that the fraud had been to hide another crime—in this case a violation of federal campaign law.
“By the way, Alvin Bragg agreed with it a few months ago,” Tacopina said. “He made a statement that was reported in a book, where one of his prosecutors can’t envision a world in which he would ever use Michael Cohen as a witness against Donald Trump. But I guess his vision of the world changed, but that’s what he initially said.”
He echoed Dershowitz’s remarks that Cohen had been inconsistent in his testimony on whether the hush money was sent to Daniels at the direction of Donald Trump.
“Of course, you can’t make a case on the word of Michael Cohen. He’s a pathological convicted liar—someone who has absolutely no credibility,” Tacopina said.
Cohen initially told media outlets in February 2018 that he paid the hush money out of his own pocket, but he later reversed this account in his guilty plea, claiming to have done so at Trump’s direction and that The Trump Organization reimbursed him through routine legal expenses. Trump has previously called the payment part of a monthly retainer given to Cohen and said the lawyer “entered into, through reimbursement, a private contract between two parties.” Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the matter.
Cohen has rebutted allegations that he’s a liar, saying, “Truth is truth, and the documents in the possession of the [New York district attorney’s office] demonstrate this.”
Tacopina on March 10 filed a formal ethics complaint (pdf) with the New York City Department of Investigation (DOI), the city government’s watchdog. The scope of the DOI’s investigations includes misconduct, waste, fraud, abuse of authority, and unethical conduct, and its investigations are confidential.
“The Department of Investigation is looking into Mr. Bragg,” he said.
In his letter sent to DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber, Tacopina called for the DOI to investigate allegations of prosecutorial misconduct of current and former lead prosecutors of the New York district attorney’s office, who he said had a “personal and political animus” against Trump that motivated their decision to begin investigating the former president. He named Bragg, former District Attorney Cyrus Vance, former New York District Attorney’s Office General Counsel Carey Dunne, and former Special Assistant District Attorney Mark Pomerantz, who have at some point been involved in investigating Trump.
“Plainly, their own actions and/or words establish that Cyrus Vance, Carey Dunne, and Mark Pomerantz picked a person they hated for political reasons and targeted him for prosecution to harm his ability to run for national office,” Tacopina wrote in the letter.
As an example of this alleged animus toward Trump, Tacopina cited Pomerantz’s account in his book “People vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account.”
“I saw him as a malignant narcissist, and perhaps a megalomaniac who posed a real danger to the country and to the ideas that mattered to me,” the book reads. “His behavior made me angry, sad, and even disgusted.”
In the letter, Tacopina also alleged that the prosecutors’ animus had been obvious considering the investigation of Trump was based on novel legal theories, their repeated dismissal of the concerns of experienced senior prosecutors, and their resurrection of Daniels’s case—which he called a “zombie case”—despite previously having concluded that the case lacked merit.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
Tacopina denied all wrongdoing on Trump’s part.
“Did he do anything wrong as far as failing to report any campaign expenditure? And the answer is 100 percent no, because there’s no campaign finance law violation, there’s no anything violation,” Tacopina told The Epoch Times. “Nothing else matters.”
A Trump spokesperson, in a previous statement to The Epoch Times, described the case as another instance of “the weaponization of our injustice system.”
“The George Soros-funded Radical Left Democrat prosecutor in Manhattan has decided to take his Witch-Hunt to the next level,” the spokesperson wrote, referring to Bragg.
The grand jury hearing was paused on March 22, according to Tacopina.
The New York City Department of Investigations office didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.