Who else has Donald Trump’s legal team defended?

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump appears in court for his arraignment. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)

Who else has Donald Trump’s legal team defended?

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Former President Donald Trump has assembled a formidable legal defense team to defend him against the first indictment of a former president.

Three attorneys make up Trump’s legal defense team in the Manhattan District Attorney’s case: Todd Blanche, Susan Necheles, and Joe Tacopina. Each has extensive legal experience, and all have defended other celebrities and high-profile clients.

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Here are a few of the most high-profile clients defended by a member of Trump’s legal defense team.

Lillo Brancato

The Colombian-born Lillo Brancato, 46, earned national renown at just 17 years old as the protagonist in the 1993 A Bronx Tale, following it up with a supporting role in the similarly-acclaimed The Sopranos.

In 2005, Brancato was arrested after his accomplice shot and killed a 28-year-old off-duty police officer Daniel Enchautegui during a burglary. His accomplice was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was charged with first-degree attempted burglary and second-degree murder.

Brancato would be defended by Tacopina, who argued that the actor did not participate in the killing, didn’t have a weapon, wasn’t aware his accomplice had a weapon, and wasn’t trying to burglarize the residence, which belonged to a friend who had died months earlier. The jury accepted most of the argument; Brancato was charged with first-degree attempted burglary, but the murder charges were dropped. He was sentenced to ten years in prison but was released on parole in 2013.

Speaking with the New York Times, Enchautegui’s sister and fellow police officers weren’t happy with the sentence, arguing that he deserved a much harsher sentence.

After the sentencing, Tacopina said that Enchautegui’s killing was a tragedy, but “it would have been a bigger tragedy to convict Lillo for something he didn’t do.”

Meek Mill

Perhaps Tacopina’s most high-profile case before joining Trump’s legal team was his defense of rapper Meek Mill in a lengthy legal battle stemming from violations of a 10-year probation from a 2008 arrest. In 2017, Mill was sentenced by Judge Genece Brinkley to two to four years in prison for a parole violation.

Tacopina helped turn the focus to Brinkley herself, who was also behind Mill’s original conviction in 2008. Allegations of corruption were leveled against her, and Mill was granted a trial by another judge. In 2019, a Pennsylvania appeals court overturned his 2008 conviction.

“Justice was ultimately done,” Tacopina told Page Six. “Meek comes out of this as a spokesperson for reform, and he becomes the voice for the voiceless.”

Tacopina’s new presence on Trump’s legal team was not lost on the rapper, who took to Instagram to point out the newest client of his former lawyer, who he affectionately refers to as “Joe Tactical.”

“Trump graduated from the streets … sharing criminal lawyers [with us] … Joe Tactical,” he wrote.

Venero “Benny Eggs” Mangano

The Genovese crime underboss Venero “Benny Eggs” Mangano was defended by Necheles, becoming one of her most high-profile clients before Trump.

Mangano was charged with extortion and conspiracy in the “Windows Case.” Prosecutor Gregory J. O’Connell said that Mangano and his co-conspirators were behind a “criminal enterprise that put a stranglehold on the window-replacement industry in this town,” the New York Times reported. The racketeering scheme involved bid-rigging and extortion to run a lucrative industry priced at over $150 million.

Each count of extortion and conspiracy held a maximum of 20 years in prison, but Mangano was given 15 years and 8 months. He was released in 2006 and died in 2017.

Paul Manafort

In another case with the Manhattan DA, Blanche represented Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. The Trump ally was indicted on 16 counts of mortgage fraud, defrauding banks by lying to obtain mortgages for four properties he owned. However, the charges were announced only hours after Manafort was sentenced to seven years in prison over a mortgage fraud scheme, Fox News reported.

Blanche argued that the charges were politically motivated and illegal under the double jeopardy clause. Judge Maxwell Wiley was convinced, dismissing the DA’s charges in a surprise move.

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The move won Blanche praise from legal experts and likely played a role in his hiring by Trump.

“He represented Paul Manafort and did an excellent job there, so he is a great pick by President Trump,” legal expert Mike Davis told Fox News.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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