A Manhattan grand jury that is envisioned to vote before long on no matter if to indict Donald J. Trump may possibly hear testimony Monday attacking the prosecution’s star witness, according to individuals with understanding of the make any difference.
The testimony would arrive from a lawyer, Robert J. Costello, who would appear at the request of Mr. Trump’s legal professionals, the individuals stated. Mr. Costello was as soon as a authorized adviser to Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former fixer, who has been a essential witness for the Manhattan district attorney’s business.
Mr. Costello and Mr. Cohen had a slipping out, and Mr. Costello would seem only to undermine Mr. Cohen’s reliability, the individuals mentioned.
Under New York legislation, a person who is expected to be indicted can ask for that a witness show up on his or her behalf. Mr. Trump’s attorneys have questioned that Mr. Costello testify, but the ultimate selection rests with the grand jury it is unclear irrespective of whether they have made a choice. The grand jury has been listening to proof about the former president’s involvement in a hush revenue payment to a porn star.
Mr. Costello’s visual appearance would come quickly just after Mr. Cohen concluded his personal grand jury testimony. If Mr. Costello testifies, there is also a likelihood that Mr. Cohen will be asked to return to rebut some of Mr. Costello’s assertions.
A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s place of work declined to comment, as did Mr. Costello. A lawyer for Mr. Cohen, Lanny J. Davis, declined to remark.
The district lawyer, Alvin L. Bragg, a Democrat, is predicted to request an indictment of Mr. Trump as shortly as this week. There have been various indicators that rates may well be imminent: The prosecutors gave Mr. Trump an prospect to testify, a ideal supplied to folks who will shortly confront indictment. They have now questioned practically just about every main participant in the hush cash saga in entrance of the grand jury.
Mr. Cohen built the $130,000 hush money payment to the porn star, Stormy Daniels, to bury her story of an affair with Mr. Trump.
The payment came in the operate-up to the 2016 presidential election, and Mr. Trump subsequently reimbursed Mr. Cohen. Prosecutors are envisioned to accuse Mr. Trump of overseeing the false recording of the reimbursements in his company’s inside documents. The information falsely said that the payments to Mr. Cohen were for “legal costs.”
Mr. Trump has denied all wrongdoing, as very well as obtaining experienced an affair with Ms. Daniels, and has blasted the investigation as politically motivated. He has also called Mr. Bragg, a Democrat and the first Black individual to provide as the district attorney, a “racist.”
Mr. Costello’s visual appearance in the grand jury on Monday would most likely kick off a string of assaults from Mr. Trump’s attorneys on Mr. Cohen’s trustworthiness. If the case goes to demo, they are expected to highlight that Mr. Cohen himself pleaded responsible to federal crimes in 2018 stemming from the hush funds payment, and to provide up other episodes from the previous fixer’s own record.
But prosecutors may possibly counter that Mr. Cohen was lying about the hush cash payment on Mr. Trump’s behalf, and has been regular in the telling of his story in new a long time.
Mr. Costello is very likely to argue that Mr. Cohen cannot be trustworthy. In 2018, as Mr. Cohen was experiencing the federal investigation into the hush funds, a mutual buddy introduced the two gentlemen. Mr. Costello available to represent Mr. Cohen, and they expended hours meeting and speaking by telephone.
As a Republican lawyer with ties to Mr. Trump’s authorized group, Mr. Costello presented to serve as a bridge concerning Mr. Cohen and the president’s attorneys. At 1 place, Mr. Costello contacted 1 of Mr. Trump’s lawyers to ask if the president could possibly pardon Mr. Cohen.
But the pardon by no means came, and Mr. Cohen by no means formally retained Mr. Costello. Mr. Cohen afterwards waived their lawyer-client privilege, Mr. Costello has explained.
Their connection worsened as Mr. Cohen broke from Mr. Trump, and became one particular of his primary antagonists.
“We will not be concerned in that journey,” Mr. Costello wrote Mr. Cohen in a 2018 e mail, including that his law organization “will be sending you a monthly bill.” When it arrived, Mr. Cohen refused to pay back.
The Fort Information