Manhattan DA asks judge to look into Trump attorney’s potential conflict of interest

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(NEW YORK) — Prosecutors in New York City on Monday asked the judge overseeing the criminal case against former President Donald Trump to seek additional information from one of Trump’s attorneys who they believe may have a potential conflict of interest in the case.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to a $130,000 hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the closing weeks of the 2016 campaign. Trump has denied all charges.

Trump’s defense team includes Joe Tacopina, a lawyer Daniels once considered hiring as her attorney, and the Manhattan district attorney’s office said Tacopina’s representations so far are insufficient.

“[T]he People request that the Court make certain additional inquiries of Mr. Tacopina and conduct a Gomberg inquiry of the defendant,” executive assistant district attorney Susan Hoffinger wrote in a letter to the court, referring to a hearing that would establish that Trump knowingly opts to continue with Tacopina as his attorney notwithstanding any conflict.

Trump affirmed at his arraignment he wanted to move forward with Tacopina on his legal team, but Hoffinger said a full hearing would be needed.

She has asked the judge order Tacopina to turn over any records of his firm’s communications with Daniels, and to disclose the extent to which he may have shared any information from Daniels with Trump.

The potential conflict was raised by Daniels’ current attorney, Clark Brewster, who said in a letter to the Manhattan district attorney’s office that Daniels had a 2018 conversation with Tacopina and attorneys at his firm about them potentially representing her.

Tacopina has said he never spoke to Daniels and he told the judge his firm refused to represent her.

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