Trump attorney goes on media blitz as he says there’s ‘zero chance’ former president will accept plea deal
Donald Trump’s attorney launched a fresh media blitz on Friday morning as he insisted that there is “zero chance” the former president will accept a plea deal in his criminal case.
Attorney Joe Tacopina appeared on both ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today show just hours after Mr Trump was criminally indicted on around 30 criminal charges in connection to 2016 hush money payments.
Mr Tacopina said that there is “zero chance” the former president will accept a plea deal in the case as he railed against what he claimed was the day that “the rule of law died” in America.
“President Trump will not take a plea deal on this case. It’s not gonna happen,” he told NBC.
“There’s no crime. I don’t know if it’s gonna make it to trial because we have substantial legal challenges.”
Mr Tacopina confirmed that neither he nor the former president know exactly what the charges are – or how many there are.
However multiple reports say that Mr Trump is facing more than 30 counts related to business fraud in the indictment.
If this is true, Mr Tacopina said that would mean prosecutors have “taken each transaction, each check, each payment, each entry and made a separate charge.”
The attorney – who ramped up his media coverage in the run-up to the indictment – told GMA that Mr Trump was “shocked” when he learned of the indictment.
“At end of the day, he was hoping the rule of law would prevail,” he said, adding that he was “shocked that it actually came to fruition”.
“The rule of law died yesterday in this country,” he claimed.
Mr Trump’s apparent “initial shock” comes despite the former president claiming that he was going to be arrested on 21 March – a day that came and went without event.
Mr Tacopina added that New York prosecutors had not given them much information on Thursday other than that there has been an indictment.
Now, Mr Trump’s team is working out logistics for him to surrender to New York authorities, with the attorney saying he is “not going to hole up in Mar-a-Lago.”
Two officials told NBC News that the former president is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan on Tuesday, with a tentative hearing time set for 2.15pm that afternoon.
Judge Juan Merchan – who last year ran the trial which convicted the Trump Organization – is expected to oversee the case. The date and time is however subject to change and many preparations are needed for the unprecedented case.
Like all New York defendants, Mr Trump will be fingerprinted and have his mugshot taken as part of the booking process.
However, as the charges relate to white collar crime, it is unlikely he will be placed in handcuffs.
The pending court appearance comes after a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Mr Trump on criminal charges over hush money payments to adult film star Ms Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election – making Mr Trump the first current or former president to ever face criminal charges in the history of the US.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg released a statement on Thursday confirming that his office has been in touch with Mr Trump’s attorneys over the former president’s surrender.
“This evening we contacted Mr Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan DA’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date is selected,” he said.
Mr Trump railed against the Manhattan prosecutor and the criminal charges in statements and Truth Social posts overnight.
“Prosecutorial misconduct is their new tool, and they’re willing to use it at levels never seen before in our country. We’ve had it, but we’ve never had it like this,” he said.
“We must stop them and we must not allow them to go through another election where they have yet another tool in their tool kit”.
Manhattan prosecutors have been investigating whether Mr Trump falsified the Trump Organization’s business records when his former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen made a payment of $130,0000 to Ms Daniels days before the 2016 election.
Prosecutors claim that the money was used to silence Ms Daniels about an alleged affair she had with Mr Trump.
Mr Trump has long denied having an affair with the adult film star.
Mr Trump’s former fixer and personal attorney Cohen was convicted of tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations related to the payments to Ms Daniels. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
In recent weeks, the probe ramped up with both Cohen and Ms Daniels testifying before the grand jury.
Mr Trump was also invited to testify. Though it was an invite he unsurprisingly turned down, it was a strong sign an indictment was on the way.