Home Featured One’s a tactician, the other’s a showman. Meet Trump’s defense team.
One’s a tactician, the other’s a showman. Meet Trump’s defense team.

One’s a tactician, the other’s a showman. Meet Trump’s defense team.

by host

People who know them say the two lawyers have very different styles — she’s an understated tactician and he’s a colorful showman, “bombastic,” in his own words — but both have built their careers in New York courtrooms.

In separate interviews, Necheles and Tacopina said they have a productive working relationship — Tacopina described it as “harmonious,” adding that they would likely add a third member to the team who specializes in election law.

And both called their relationship with Trump “respectful.”

“Of course I’ve worked with difficult clients over the years in some cases, and you just try to make them have confidence in you,” Necheles said.

Still, Trump’s recent remarks about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg — calling him an “animal” and “racist” — could complicate his lawyers’ ability to work productively with prosecutors.

Necheles dismissed any concerns, saying, “Trump is a little bit more verbal about it and out there” in his criticism of the office. But, she added: “Of course he doesn’t like them. They’re trying to ruin his life.”

Tacopina said the case is in some ways unremarkable and in others extraordinary. “On one hand, this is a belly-of-the-beast, 100 Centre Street, low-level case that should be treated this way. On the other hand, this is the former president of the United States, so we have to be cognizant of that,” he said, referring to the street address for Manhattan Criminal Court where Trump will be tried.

“I’m buckling my seatbelt,” he added. “Let’s put it that way.”

Neither lawyer would discuss their strategy for the Trump case, but both have a history of deploying creative gambits on behalf of their clients. Necheles once used a “divine defense” on behalf of a developer accused of fleecing ultra-orthodox Jewish clients, telling a jury he had received a blessing from a rabbi to build affordable housing. “It was a mitzvah to him, a Hebrew word that means a good deed and an obligation,” she said.

During the trial of a former New York state senator accused of theft, she showed jurors a blown-up image of an apple, while a piece of the fruit sat on the defense table in front of her client. “There’s something rotten about this case,” she told jurors.

Meanwhile, Tacopina helped a rapper named Sticky Fingaz, who faced a gun possession charge that was later dropped, slip into the courthouse undetected by paparazzi.

Tacopina accompanied his driver — who posed as the rapper by donning a hat and sunglasses — through the front entrance while the rapper slipped through another door. Tacopina laughed at the suggestion that he would try to pull a similar stunt with Trump. “I have no tricks up my sleeve here,” he said. “This is the Secret Service’s show here, not mine.”

Tacopina also has some experience navigating choppy relationships between Trump world and its investigators — though not always with favorable results for his clients. Last year, when he represented Guilfoyle before the Jan. 6 committee, Tacopina accused the committee of blindsiding them by allowing some of the panel’s Democratic members to attend the proceeding and she walked shortly after it started. Her premature departure resulted in the committee issuing a subpoena for Guilfoyle’s testimony that ultimately compelled her return for a lengthy interview about her involvement in planning and fundraising for Trump’s Jan. 6 rally.

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