May 31, 2014

Kerik v. Tacopina: Bernie's Tape

For those of you who are interested in the great theatrical legal drama that is Bernie Kerik v. Joe Tacopina (and Tacopina v. Kerik), there were some interesting developments this week. Bernie unveiled a tape recording from 2007 of a telephone conversation between him and Tacopina, which the latter had previously stated never occurred. The NY Daily News has a nice article (here) with some excerpts from the tape. Bernie also filed some new papers. The cases are proceeding in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York but ought to be airing on the Bravo network. Fun stuff.

To set the stage, the date is December 9, 2007. A month earlier, in anticipation of Bernie's federal criminal trial, the US Attorney's Office had released it's witness list, which surprisingly featured Bernie's close friend and lawyer, Joe Tacopina. As Tacopina was a known witness, Bernie shouldn't have been speaking or communicating with him in any way. For his part, Tacopina steadfastly denied communicating with Bernie after he was named as a witness, at least according to his attorney Lanny Davis. This tape seemingly puts the lie to that claim.

According to Bernie's lawyer, Tim Parlatore, Tacopina has also denied being involved in a three-way business deal with Bernie and Raffaello Follieri (the con artist who swindled people across the globe). This too also appears to be untrue.

Bernie also filed an amended complaint which expressly states that Tacopina sat through five proffer sessions with the government. A proffer session is a meeting with government prosecutors and agents where the interviewee 'fesses up to all his misdeeds and bad acts while identifying all the other bad actors and their bad acts that the person knows about. According to the Daily News, Lanny Davis flatly denied that Tacopina had sat for any proffers at all. 

Kerik has alleged that Tacopina offered himself up as a witness against Bernie in order to avoid a criminal prosecution based on an investigation into improper fee-splitting with another attorney. These proffer sessions -- if they happened -- would be pretty compelling circumstantial evidence in Bernie's favor.

Team Bernie is also seeking documents from a prior lawsuit that was filed against Tacopina years ago in Queens Supreme Court

Bernie has also filed a motion to disqualify Tacopina's counsel, Judd Burstein, based on his letter to federal prosecutors requesting that they investigate and prosecute Kerik for perjuring himself in this civil case.

Make no mistake, both players are walking the high wire and working without a net. If Bernie's lying, he's possibly facing criminal charges. Tacopina's professional reputation is very much on the line. This is the stuff of great legal theatre and Act I of Kerik v. Tacopina is most definitely underway.


  1. I think this is a good summary...according to Len Levitt, this Tacopina lawyer wore a wire for the feds.....what kind of ethical lawyer wears a wire, if this nonsense is true? That is called a rat, fink, Judas and maybe the A-Rod lawyer needs to have his license revoked and consider getting some professional counseling - I mean the laundry list of allegations against the A-Rod lawyer is amazing - fraudulent business records, sleeping with client's wives, violating Court Orders, suing his own clients who file any complaints, lying over complaints, various conflicts of interests, I mean, this is a list that has no short ennding and are in the news daily - what are we to think? When you like the eye of the media, you are in the Court of "public opinion" and we in the public want answers - not scarty cat attempts to hide behind the Statute of Limittaions, which, as a lawyer, you should know starts when the fraud is discovered not when the bad doer commits the fraud - so don't fall for the lawyer's game and we are still in Round 3 with a lot of pop corn still left.....but I can use a coca cola with a splash of rum......waiter.....Mike......thank you sir.....

    PS: This lawyer....scary lawyer....I don't like this lawyer....mommy....scary

  2. As a 4-year old once wisely asserted, ...." this monster, scary monster, I don't like this monster.."

    Clearly, someone is Washington needs to get control of this senario before it gets any more convoluted for the government and the Court than it already is - tghreats inside a civil litigation are uncalled for - period - end of story - I've read Judd was already warned once in the past by Judge Denny Chen, for "Rambo" lawyering, when does someone inside the courts step up and take some leadership - this shows how silly the Courts in NY State operate and why there are always under investigations- where is this Disciplinary Committee to enforce the court rules, out to lunch - again...?

  3. It's a matter of wills at this point. Who will crack first? On the one hand, you have a greasy lawyer, the A-ROD lawyer, who seemingly uses "defamation" lawsuits as a modus operandi means to silence his former clients. It is weird. This has been repeated against others besides Kerik. Then, you have Kerik, sporting a head that is a perfect cue ball look and with the veins running through it, reminding me of the Star Trek episode with the Telusions. They were the bald aliens with the really big heads that used illusions. Or, he could pass for a mature Mr. Clean.

    You also have Judge Kenny who probably has never seen such undignified behavior by lawyers in her career but that she must rule on as time ticks on.

    Bernie has since written a book and his prison gal pal implies she fears for her life but has no problem writing a blog of how much she despises Kerik. With all due respect, although she may have valid points, he is no saint, if she is that fearful, most authorities would say, stop instigating the target. Or, at least, I hope they would advise her of that tact for her safety.

    So, here are some early mere opinion predictions. Usually, when the A-Rod lawyer goes into hiding, as it appears now, it means he is afraid of what lurks in his closet. Yeah, yeah, we all now that Kerik is supposedly a wack job, or, so that is how the A-Rod lawyers wishes to portray him, but you know something, why was the A-Rod lawyer so close to him and taking gifts, or, so the story goes, if he really feels that way. I don't think it makes him very credible either.

    Of course, don't hold you're breadth for the NY Departmental Departmental Disciplinary Committee to do their job. Once again, they punted. Judge Kenny is in a tough situation. Since most Judge's don't like to enforce any ethics rules (let's just say it's rare) , if I were her, I would remand all of the ethical issues right back to the the DDC and force them to make a decision on the ethics before she is forced to decide on any motions. It is not the Judge's job to do the DDC's investigation or work and this is what makes Judge's upset.

    All I can say, I hope Joltin Joe gets everything he wishes and glitz seem very dear to him..but remember the tale 'be careful what you wish for'.....Let's see if Judge Kenny can get a decision out within the year. This is what Judge's hate, parties that refuse to negotiate on principle so they actually have to do work and use legal arguements. OK Judge Kenny, it has been months and months, let's get the show on the road.....

    1. Yes, you are right, many Judges go AWOL when it comes to deciding of poor attorney conduct or who is violating the rules. It appears Judge Kenney has gone AWOL. Several Months in this legal saga date back to October and November, notably, before the first snows in NYC. Now, we are near July and the MLB Allstar Game and where is Judge Kenney and her crack staff ? Notably, this Judge did not get the seal of approval for competency issues by the NYC Bar Association when she ran for Judicial office and she seems lost in space at this time. Judge Kenney the Motions are stacking up and you are obligated to follow a 60-day deadline for Motions as dictated by the Office of Court Administration. I hope with this 8 month delay we will actually see a well reasoned legal decision with cases and justification for whatever position you decide instead of one of the 4 liner decisions many Judges who lack competency try to get away with. Whatever you position is, please, just make it and try to get these motions decided before the