Two of President Trump’s legal defenders are Brooklyn Law School graduates

A look at the lawyers who have served former President Trump

June 21, 2023 Rob Abruzzese
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Aspiring lawyers looking to make a name for themselves in the legal field might find their roadmap sketched out by a pair of graduates from Brooklyn Law School.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump is the first former president to face federal criminal charges as his legal team has tackled cases related to classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago and hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, as well as defending Trump in the E. Jean Carroll civil case, election interference in Georgia, and the claims of the 2020 presidential election fraud.

Among the most prominent figures in this saga are BLS graduates Todd Blanche, a former federal prosecutor with a white-collar criminal defense specialty, and Joe Tacopina, a former assistant district attorney in Brooklyn with a broad range of high-profile clients.


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Todd Blanche and The Mar-a-Lago Case

Blanche recently worked as a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and is one of Trump’s most steadfast defenders. Blanche has represented Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, and Boris Epshteyn, a top Trump adviser. His track record showcases a strong connection to Trump’s orbit.

Blanche’s involvement in the Mar-a-Lago case, where Trump stands accused of storing classified documents in inappropriate locations, solidified his role in the Trump legal team. Blanche, along with other attorneys, maintains Trump’s innocence, stating before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman, “We most certainly enter a plea of not guilty.”

Blanche, founder of Blanche Law, brings over 20 years of expertise in white-collar defense and investigations, gained from his tenure as a federal prosecutor and defense attorney at large firms. Notably, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York for nine years, supervising cases involving public corruption, securities fraud, and more.


Joe Tacopina and the Hush Money Case

Tacopina, a Brooklyn attorney with a varied clientele including the late Michael Jackson and Alex Rodriguez, is representing Trump in the Stormy Daniels hush money case. Tacopina expressed confidence in Trump’s acquittal, stating that he takes on cases like Trump’s “if I think someone’s been really wronged, and I really fall in love with a person.”

Despite his steadfast defense of Trump, Tacopina has publicly disagreed with him, stating that he did not believe New York Supreme Court Justice Juan M. Merchan, who presided over the hush money case, was biased against the former president.

Tacopina, the senior partner and lead trial attorney at his firm, is recognized as one of the nation’s most prominent high-stakes trial attorneys, with over 100 successful cases. A former Brooklyn prosecutor, Tacopina has extended his victorious streak into private practice, representing high-profile clients like athletes, celebrities and executives. 

Alongside court representation, Tacopina adeptly manages clients’ public image. He frequently appears on national media and teaches at Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop. He has received numerous accolades, including a New York Super Lawyer designation and Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent rating.

Joseph Tacopina, one of the nation’s top high-stakes trial attorneys, known for representing high-profile clients with unparalleled success, is also one of two Trump attorneys who attended Brooklyn Law School. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP.

The Lawyers Behind the Scenes

The defense team is not just limited to these two Brooklyn-connected attorneys. Amanda Habba, based in Bedminster, New Jersey, frequently appears on right-leaning media outlets as a spokesperson for Trump. Habba earned her fame among Trump supporters when her law firm was retained for Trump’s lawsuit against his niece, Mary, and the New York Times for publishing information about his tax records.

Christopher Kise, a longtime figure in Florida GOP circles, also defends Trump in the Mar-a-Lago case. Kise’s approach to Trump’s defense appears to contrast the combative nature of the team, reportedly seeking to de-escalate the pugilistic approach to federal prosecutors.

However, the legal team’s unity has suffered due to resignations and recusals from the likes of Evan Corcoran, Tim Parlatore, John Rowley, and Jim Trusty. Infighting among the team led to Parlatore’s departure, and similar clashes contributed to the resignations of Rowley and Trusty.


The Impeachments and Collusion with Russia

The former U.S. president holds the unique distinction of being the only president to be impeached twice. In December 2019, the House first impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, after an inquiry found that Trump sought foreign interference to aid his 2020 reelection bid and hindered the investigation by directing officials in his administration to disregard subpoenas. Despite these charges, the Senate acquitted him in February 2020.

Trump faced his second impeachment following the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. He was charged with incitement of the attack and was once again acquitted by the Senate in February 2021, over a month after he had left office.

The first impeachment trial involved lawyers such as Cipollone, Jay Sekulow, Alan Dershowitz, Pam Bondi, and Kenneth Starr, among others. The second impeachment trial was represented by a smaller legal team, which included Michael van der Veen, Bruce Castor, David Schoen, Butch Bowers, and Deborah Barbier.

Furthermore, special counsel Robert S. Mueller released his report in March 2019, concluding his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Mueller did not find that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russians, but reached no conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice. Trump’s legal team during this investigation included lawyers such as former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sekulow, Emmet Flood, Martin and Jane Raskin, Ty Cobb, Andrew Ekonomou, John Dowd, and Joanna Hendon.

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