After twice-impeached-once-indicted former president Donald Trump’s new lawyer Joe Tacopina cross-examined magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll in her rape case against Trump this week, George Conway was unimpressed. According to the lawyer, Tacopina’s behavior was “outrageous” and simply “backfired.”
As Carroll took the stand, she was pressed by Tacopina about minute details of the alleged rape, which she testifies took place more than 30 years ago. Tacopina repeatedly asked her why she decided to come forward with the accusation when she did, and why she didn’t scream for help in the moment.
Reflecting on Tacopina’s tactics with MSNBC’s Alex Wagner on Tuesday evening, Conway felt Tacopina acted disrespectfully.
“There is a legitimate way, and a very delicate way, that lawyers can cross-examine victims or alleged victims of sexual assault,” he said. “They have an obligation to do it, as a matter of their professional responsibility. But you have to do it very carefully and keep to the facts.”
Conway conceded that “Tacopina did some of that,” based on the coverage coming out of the courtroom, but that he did it in “a ham-fisted way.” He added that at least some of Tacopina’s questions, including why Carroll didn’t go to the police at the time, were valid, and would’ve likely landed better had he asked them more professionally.
“Those are all legitimate questions, and it’s appropriate to present that to the jury,” Conway said. “But … if you’re asking questions like, ‘Oh, you didn’t cry on TV, but you cried here,’ that — that’s just outrageous. And I just think it backfired in front of a jury.”
You can watch Conway’s full interview on MSNBC in the video above.