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Trump lawyer calls post attacking Bragg 'ill-advised,' says 'I'm not his social media consultant'

"I think that was an ill-advised post that one of his social media people put up,” Joe Tacopina said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
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Donald Trump's lawyer distanced himself Sunday from his client's escalating attacks on New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg as he weighs criminal charges against the former president.

“I’m not his social media consultant," Joe Tacopina said in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” when host Chuck Todd pressed him about whether he would advise a client to attack a prosecutor personally. "I think that was an ill-advised post that one of his social media people put up and he quickly took down when he realized the rhetoric and the photo that was attached to it."

Todd responded: "You're referring to the baseball bat thing, which, of course, was featured in the New York Post cover. New York Post thought it was a pretty, pretty rough hit."

Trump has in recent days stepped up his inflammatory rhetoric against the government officials investigating him after he falsely predicted this month that he would be arrested Tuesday in the case involving a hush money payment made during his 2016 campaign to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Bragg is probing how the payments were documented on the Trump Organization's books.

On Thursday, Trump called Bragg an "animal" backed by the liberal megadonor George Soros, who is Jewish, in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social. In another Truth Social posting, he shared an article that included an image of him wielding a baseball bat juxtaposed next to an image of Bragg’s head. That post has been deleted. Early Friday, Trump warned of “potential death and destruction” if he is charged in the hush money case.

Trump has maintained he committed no wrongdoing.

"I’m not going to defend or condemn anything regarding social media. That’s not what I do," Tacopina said Sunday. "I don’t have anything to do … I’m not a Trump PR person. I’m a litigator and a lawyer, and I'm talking about this case in Manhattan."

While the charges that could be brought are still unclear, Tacopina has maintained that Trump was following the advice of his then-lawyer Michael Cohen when he signed off on the payments Bragg's office is investigating. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges relating to the $130,000 payment in the final days of the 2016 campaign.

Bragg is now investigating Trump for allegations of felony falsification of business records. Cohen said Trump directed him to pay Daniels the hush money for the “principal purpose of influencing” the election. Cohen repaid the money he gave to Daniels through payments that were listed by Trump’s company as “legal fees.”

Tacopina has argued that the records weren’t falsified, saying that payments were made to Cohen, not Daniels, and that therefore they would be “considered legal fees.”

He also contended on "Meet the Press" that Trump used personal funds.

“The law is this: that if you use personal funds and you’re involved in the campaign, the bright line test is ‘would you have expended that money, would you have made that payment, irrespective of the candidacy, irrespective of the campaign?' And the answer to that question is simply yes. This was a personal civil settlement,” Tacopina said.

He said "this has nothing to do with" whether Trump paid the money through the Trump Organization or a corporation or his personal funds, adding, "By all accounts there were personal funds."

Daniels claimed the money was meant to keep her silent about her allegation that she’d slept with the married Trump in 2006, which Trump denies.

NBC News reported Friday that the FBI and New York City police are investigating a letter containing a death threat and white powder that was mailed to Bragg's office, the latest in what a senior law enforcement source described as “several hundred threats” aimed at Bragg and his office in recent weeks.

A group of former federal prosecutors condemned threats of violence and attacks on Bragg in a letter Sunday obtained by NBC News. They cite Trump’s recent “vitriolic attacks” on Bragg, as well as the death threat letter with white powder that he received.

“State and federal prosecutors must pursue justice without fear or favor to anyone,” said the letter, signed by 176 former prosecutors, including nine former U.S. attorneys. “It follows that we must protect prosecutors from efforts to intimidate or improperly influence them. Indeed, in a democracy, it is critical to maintain prosecutorial independence and the rule of law.”

“As former prosecutors, we denounce efforts to intimidate the Manhattan District Attorney and we call upon all to support and protect prosecutorial independence and the rule of law,” they added.