Stormy Daniels turns over messages from Trump lawyer — and they could "disqualify" him in the case
Adult film actress Stormy Daniels' attorney handed over her communications with Trump attorney Joe Tacopina to the Manhattan district attorney's office, according to CNN.
Daniels, who is central to Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg's investigation into Trump's connection to alleged hush money payments made in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign, was seeking an attorney in 2018 when she was purportedly in touch with Tacopina.
CNN reported that Daniels's attorney, Clark Brewster, stated that the communications between Daniels and Tacopina and his firm included information relevant to her situation, some of which may have been confidential. Tacopina has denied any form of correspondence with Daniels, adding that he never met her.
Brewster shared with CNN that he decided to turn Daniel's communications over to the D.A. after hearing Tacopina make statements that he contradicted what was contained in the email exchanges.
CNN also reported that a 2018 interview between Joe Tacopina and Don Lemon points to the possibility that Tacopina spoke with Daniels as she searched for legal representation amid the hush money scandal.
"I can't really talk about my impressions or any conversations we'd had because there is an attorney-client privilege that attaches even to a consultation," Tacopina said in the clip.
Tacopina on Tuesday told CNN that the remarks made during 2018 "lacked clarity" and were made to " terminate the inquiry, because someone on Stormy Daniel's behalf did ask whether I would represent her, and I did not wish to discuss the matter on television."
"However, those circumstances do not give rise to an attorney-client relationship in any form," he added. Following the circulation of the interview, Tacopina's firm issued an affirmative statement that "there was no attorney-client relationship."
CNN did not see the communications but legal experts told the outlet that "they could lead to limits being placed on the role Tacopina can play at trial or even his disqualification."
The communications could lead to Tacopina or his entire firm being barred from cross-examining Daniels during a potential trial, Stephen Gillers, a New York University School of Law professor, told the outlet. And if Tacopina has information that contradicts Daniels' testimony, he would not be able to act as a witness for Trump.
"He has to have critical testimony for the judge that the witness-advocate rule disqualifies him," Gillers told CNN.
"Usually in these cases, they don't actually disqualify the person," CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers said during a segment on Tuesday. "Courts do like to honor a criminal defendant's choice of counsel. So probably they will say, you can't use anything you learned, you can't cross examine her. If this goes to trial, but they'll probably let him stay on the case."
The Daily Beast reported that Tacopina had referred to the hush money scheme as "illegal" in a 2018 interview with CNN.
"It's an illegal agreement. It's a fraud, if that's, in fact, the case," Tacopina said. "It doesn't pass the straight-face test, and quite frankly, if that is what happened, we have a potential campaign finance issue."
2018 pic.twitter.com/qdJJmRjJpU— Acyn (@Acyn) March 21, 2023