Trump’s New York lawyers are the latest in a long, troubled line

By Jacqueline Thomsen

(Reuters) – Representing Donald Trump, who is now facing charges in New York, is no easy task. Just ask the former president himself.

“I sometimes say to a lawyer, ‘Are you sure you want to represent me? I think you’re making a mistake some of his own lawyers have confronted.

A Manhattan grand jury indicted Trump Thursday after an investigation into hush-hush payments to porn star Stormy Daniels was conducted, making him the first former US president to be prosecuted despite running for the White House again.

Attorneys Susan Necheles, Joe Tacopina and Chad Seigel are to defend Trump in the case. Necheles and Tacopina, both former Brooklyn prosecutors, said Thursday they would “vigorously fight” the charges.

Since taking office as President in 2016, Trump has gone through private attorneys, congressional investigations, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, his own false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, and the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 siege of the US Capitol by its supporters.

One of his former attorneys, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations in connection with the Daniels payment and was serving three years in prison and house arrest. He’s supposed to be a key witness in the New York case.

Along the way, Trump has built a reputation for demanding loyalty from his lawyers and rejecting advice that clashes with his own brash style.

“He wants an attorney who’s absolutely loyal to him and does what he tells them to do,” said Ty Cobb, who led the White House response to Mueller’s investigation on Trump’s behalf before being replaced in 2018.

Among Trump’s long list of past attorneys is former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who oversaw Trump’s post-election litigation after the 2020 election. His New York bar license was suspended in 2021 after a court said he made “provenly false and misleading” voter fraud claims.

Tacopina, a frequent cable news commentator in a sleek suit and accustomed to litigating in the New York tabloid spotlight, has represented rapper Meek Mill, former Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez and Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancee Kimberly Guilfoyle. The attorney told Reuters before the indictment that he was not afraid of controversial cases and that he and Trump had a relationship of “mutual respect.”

Tacopina is also defending Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought by writer E. Jean Carroll over Trump’s denial of Carroll’s claim that he sexually assaulted her in the 1990s.

Necheles, a former attorney for the underboss of the late Genoese crime family Venero “Benny Eggs” Mangano, defended the Trump Organization last year in a criminal case convicting the company of a scheme to defraud tax authorities.

(Reporting by Jacqueline Thomsen in Washington; Editing by David Bario and Jonathan Oatis)

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