An attorney for Donald Trump said there is "zero" chance the former president will take a plea deal he was indicted by a grand jury in a case centered on payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
Attorney Joe Tacopina spoke with Savannah Guthrie on TODAY on March 31 in the wake of Trump becoming the first former president to ever face criminal charges. Tacopina was asked if there was any possibility of Trump taking a plea deal in the case.
"Zero," Tacopina said. "President Trump will not take a plea deal in this case. It’s not going to happen, there’s no crime."
The exact charge or charges against Trump are not known yet because the indictment from the grand jury's vote in New York City is under seal.
Donald Trump indicted in 2016 hush money caseMarch 31, 202302:42
Tacopina said he believes the charges will be unsealed "likely Tuesday" of next week, but he did not know a definitive date. He expects Trump to surrender to the Manhattan district attorney's office next week at his arraignment.
"He'll face this," Tacopina said.
He added that he does not know how many charges Trump will face or the exact nature of the charges.
"We do know it centers around a legal, very common confidentiality agreement that was signed years and years ago with Stormy Daniels, with her attorneys and (former Trump attorney) Michael Cohen," Tacopina said. "So it’s nothing more than that, which is really what makes this shocking.
The case centers around $130,000 in payments to Daniels during the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Daniels claimed she slept with the married Trump in 2006, which he has denied. Trump had classified his reimbursement of the payout as a legal expense.
Cohen pleaded guilty in federal court in 2018 to making an illegal payment to Daniels for the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election and said he did so at Trump’s direction. He was sentenced to three years in prison for that and other crimes.
Trump acknowledged that he repaid Cohen the $130,000 but has said the payment was legal, tweeting in 2018 that the money was “not from the campaign” and that the deal had been “a private contract between two parties, known as a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA.”
"This was a personal resolution for a personal matter that would’ve been made irrespective of the campaign, so with those facts together, there is no crime," Tacopina said.
Trump wrote on his social media site Truth Social on March 18 that he expected to be arrested days later, but that did not occur. However, Tacopina said the indictment on March 30 took Trump by surprise.
"Despite all the scuttlebutt and rumors and whatnot, we believed and hoped that rule of law would prevail, so he initially was shocked," Tacopina said. "After he got over that, he put a notch in his belt, and he decided, we have to fight now. And he got into a typical Donald Trump posture where he's ready to be combative on something he believes is an injustice."