Former US President Donald J. Trump was arraigned in a New York City court on Tuesday afternoon – here’s who’s involved.
Who’s Who in the Trump Arraignment
President Donald Trump is facing 34 counts of allegedly falsifying business records. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury last week on charges related to hush money payments linked to an alleged affair with pornographic performer Stormy Daniels. Trump, who claims to be innocent, is the first former president to face criminal charges.
With the imminent historic trial taking shape, various key figures have surfaced. Below is a list of the individuals involved in the upcoming trial.
Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, became the District Attorney of New York County, coinciding with the Borough of Manhattan, on January 1, 2022. He won a competitive primary in November 2021, positioning himself as a progressive candidate, with support from leftist billionaire George Soros.
In his campaign, Bragg highlighted his tough stance against Trump, citing his past involvement in civil cases against the former president.
As a Democrat, Bragg inherited the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into the Trump-Stormy Daniels allegations from his predecessor, Cyrus Vance. Bragg, who grew up in Harlem, had previously worked as an assistant U.S. Attorney, the Chief Deputy Attorney General of New York State, and a lawyer specializing in civil rights and white-collar financial crimes. He earned his degree from Harvard Law School.
Joe Tacopina, one of Trump’s defense attorneys, is a well-known lawyer from Brooklyn who has represented New York’s most famous celebrities, such as Jay-Z and Alex Rodriguez. Tacopina received his law degree from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and currently resides in the state.
Having established himself as a highly respected lawyer in New York City, Tacopina has been a regular presence in the media, particularly following Trump’s indictment. Alongside his legal work, Tacopina has pursued his passion for hockey and soccer, serving as a sports agent and investor.
Necheles, also a Brooklyn lawyer on Trump’s defense team, has worked on cases related to the Mafia and the infamous NXIVM cult. She defended the Trump Organization in a civil trial last year and has previously worked with the president.
Necheles, who graduated from Yale Law School, is often seen as the more cerebral and detail-oriented lawyer of the two leading Trump’s defense, in contrast to the media-savvy and outspoken Tacopina.
Blanche, a specialist in white-collar cases, was a recent addition to Trump’s team, having been hired on Monday – just a day before the arraignment. Paul Manafort, one of Trump’s 2016 campaign managers, is among Blanche’s notable former clients.
Initially, some believed that Blanche’s hiring suggested Tacopina was being “sidelined,” but his addition to the team was later described as an opportunity to provide “additional firepower” for the unprecedented trial. Blanche, who resigned from a large New York law firm to defend the president, received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School.
Juan Manuel Merchan
Merchan, the judge presiding over the case, is an Acting Justice in the criminal division of the New York County Supreme Court in the First Judicial District. He was appointed to the bench by former Democratic presidential candidate and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and has served for 16 years, previously working as a family court judge.
Merchan, originally from Colombia, graduated from Hofstra University. He has previously presided over cases involving Trump, which led to the president alleging on his social media platform Truth Social that Merchan “HATES ME.”
On Tuesday, it was reported that Merchan’s daughter worked as an active Democratic political operative and was part of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.
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