Donald Trump defense attorney Joe Tacopina has been hitting the airwaves to cast aspersions on a potential indictment of his client in the Stormy Daniels hush money investigation.
But here’s the rub, as New York University law professor Ryan Goodman points out: Before Daniels hired Michael Avenatti as her attorney, the porn star approached Tacopina about representing her — and an attorney-client relationship was established at the point of that consultation, even though he ultimately did not represent her.
Under the American Bar Association’s rules of professional conduct, Tacopina’s duties include not representing another client with adverse interests to Daniels; not publicly disclosing information that she revealed to him; and certainly not publicly calling her account into question on behalf of another client. There are some limited exceptions to the rules, but they would require Daniels’ expressed and informed consent, and to date there is no evidence that this has occurred.
That Tacopina had an attorney-client relationship with Daniels comes from his own mouth: He said so twice in March 2018, both times on “CNN Tonight.” (A representative with Tacopina’s law firm told Newsweek on Friday: “There is no conflict, and there was no attorney-client relationship.”)
You know, obviously there are attorney-client issues. … The question I was asked was whether I was contacted or asked to represent her. The answer is yes, I was, but I can’t go anything further.
JOE TACOPINA ON MARCH 9, 2018
I can’t really talk about my impressions or any conversations we had because there is an attorney-client privilege that attaches even to a consultation.
joe tacopina on March 16, 2018
Some people say MAGA stands for “Making Attorneys Get Attorneys,” and this could be yet another example if an ethics complaint was raised with respect to Tacopina’s conduct — or it could lead to his staying mum (as happened with Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell after they allegedly made defamatory statements against Dominion Voting Systems).
Stay tuned here to see what happens.