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CNN anchor appears stunned as Trump attorney questions suitability of another to handle Stormy Daniels case

There was an odd moment of apparent legal one-up-manship on CNN during an interview regarding the representation of Donald Trump following his indictment.

One attorney for the former president, Tim Parlatore, publicly undermined the credibility of another Trump attorney, Joe Tacopina, who has been engaged in a media blitz this week following Mr Trump’s indictment for his role in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.

Mr Parlatore is representing the former president in the investigation into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as well as his role in inciting the January 6 Capitol riot.

Asked by CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins if Mr Tacopina was the “right person” to defend the former president against the more than 30 charges purportedly in the sealed New York indictment, Mr Parlatore brought up a significant conflict of interest.

Collins said on Friday night: “This is such a significant case. And, of course, everyone has noted, just how historic, this indictment is … Do you think that Joe Tacopina is the right person to take this case, to trial, for your client, Trump?”

“Well, I know that Susan Necheles is a phenomenal attorney, who’s working on all the legal aspects of this,” Mr Parlatore began.

“As to who’s going to try the case? I know that Joe has certain potential conflict issues, given his prior contacts, with Stormy Daniels. So, who’s the right attorney, to take it to trial, is something that the client will have to decide.”

He added: “Ultimately, the decision of who to stand next to, before a jury, is a decision that only the client can make.”

Collins looked immediately surprised, even stunned, by the statement and immediately challenged Mr Parlatore about his answer: “It sounds like you don’t think that Joe Tacopina can. And you think he has a conflict of interest here and will ultimately be the person, representing Trump, in this case?”

Mr Parlatore walked back his reply when Collins pressed him on it and said he would not comment on Mr Tacopina, despite having just done so.

Mr Tacopina had exchanges with Ms Daniels in 2018 regarding potential representation and these were handed over to the Manhattan District Attorney’s office by her current lawyer Clark Brewster who sees them as a conflict of interest.

Mr Tacopina has denied any conflict of interest or that confidential information was shared with him or his office. He has also denied ever meeting or speaking with Ms Daniels.

In addition, in a 2018 appearance on CNN, Mr Tacopina seemed to criticise Mr Trump’s payments to Ms Daniels as potentially “illegal” and a “fraud”.

When reached by The Independent for comment, Mr Tacopina clarified his comments emphasising that twice during his 2018 appearance, he said, “if that is in fact the case”.