(NewsNation) — Regardless of whether he thinks it should happen or not, a lawyer for Donald Trump thinks an indictment against the former president in the New York hush money probe is becoming “more probable.”
“The one thing I still hold onto is hope that justice will prevail,” Joe Tacopina said in an interview Tuesday with NewsNation host Dan Abrams.
Tacopina is the attorney representing Trump in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hush money investigation, which could result in criminal charges. Bragg empaneled a grand jury to hear evidence and could seek an indictment against Trump.
Bragg’s investigation is centered around a $130,000 payment that former Trump aide Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the days leading up to the 2016 election to keep her from going public. Daniels claims she had an affair with Trump. The former president denies the allegation.
“This person (Daniels) had obviously met Donald Trump as Donald Trump meets a million different people. OK, so there was photos together. So she was going to take that ticket to the next level. The president denies vehemently. And there’s no evidence that I’ve seen to the contrary, that he had an affair with her. But here’s the thing, he was a victim of extortion whether he did or didn’t,” Tacopina said.
Abrams pushed back that it was not extortion because legally, a threat has to be made.
After a heated debate, Tacopina said, “Anyway, extortion or no extortion, there’s no crime here.”
Some have questioned if the $130,000 was related to Trump’s campaign and if the payment could be connected to a potential campaign finance violation.
Cohen alleges that Trump reimbursed him for the $130,000 in monthly payments that were recorded as legal fees. Trump’s team still insists it was for legal fees, which Abrams challenged.
Abrams: “You don’t pay someone $130,000.”
Tacopina: “Oh, you do too. When you’re about to run for office?”
Abrams: “So it was for the purpose of the campaign?”
Tacopina: “No. In part. But it was also as Michael Cohen, the convicted perjurer and liar and things outside of the world of Trump, he was convicted of lying and committing perjury. But he said in his plea allocution it was for the benefit of the campaign, so not to hurt the campaign. But also, here’s the important part also, because it has to be exclusively for that to be a campaign law violation. He said exclusively, it was also for the protection of embarrassment for the client and his family.”
Tacopina later continued: “Donald Trump had far more important things to do at that time, about to run for office than worried about how Michael Cohen was structuring a settlement. OK, but here’s the thing, even if it was misclassified legal fees, which I dispute vehemently, there’s still no crime.”
Tacopina denies the money was related to the campaign, saying Trump “would have done this if he were, you know, the TV star he was before politics ever entered his world.”
The probe comes as Trump campaigns for the 2024 presidential race.