Trump lawyer quits his legal team ahead of latest E Jean Carroll trial

Joe Tacopina, an attorney for Donald Trump, has withdrawn from the former president’s legal team, according to court documents filed on Monday.

Mr Tacopina was representing Mr Trump in two major cases before his resignation. He filed his withdrawal in each case on Monday. His resignations come just one day before a trial begins to determine the damages Mr Trump owes E Jean Carroll for defaming her in 2019.

Mr Tacopina told The Independent he is not commenting on the reasons for his withdrawal at this time.

The New York attorney led Mr Trump’s legal team in the civil rape case brought by Ms Carroll, in which a jury found Mr Trump liable for sexual abuse and defamation, awarding her $5m last year.

The latest trial in the Carroll case is set to begin on Tuesday. It will focus on the damages Mr Trump owes for making defamatory statements about Ms Carroll after Judge Lewis Kaplan determined the former president defamed the former columnist in 2019 when he denied sexually assaulting her in the dressing room of a Bergdorf Goodmans in the mid-1990s.

Mr Kaplan determined that Mr Trump defamed Ms Carroll in 2019 after a jury previously found that Mr Trump defamed Ms Carroll in 2022. Because the 2019 statements are “substantially the same” as the 2022 statements, Mr Kaplan said, the trial beginning Tuesday is limited to the issue of damages only.

Joe Tacopina, centre, represented the former president in two major cases (Getty Images)
Joe Tacopina, centre, represented the former president in two major cases (Getty Images)

Mr Trump’s legal team has filed several requests to delay the case, including countersuits, claims of presidential immunity, and more. Mr Kaplan and a US Court of Appeals have denied the requests so far.

Mr Tacopina also represented the former president in the New York fraud case alleging he made hush money payments to porn actor Stormy Daniels after she claimed she had an affair with him and alleging he falsified business records to conceal the transactions. The lawyer accompanied Mr Trump when he pleaded not guilty in April 2023.

The former president faces 34 first-degree felony charges in the fraud case led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The trial is set to begin on 25 March.

Mr Tacopina, founder of the firm Tacopina, Seigel & DeOreo in New York, is known for representing high-profile clients, including rapper Meek Mill and baseball player Alex Rodriguez. He is also well known in Italy where he has owned prominent soccer teams including Venezia, Bologna and SPAL.

The Independent has contacted the Office of Donald Trump for comment.