To avoid being charged in the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into whether a 2016 hush payment broke campaign finance laws, former President Donald Trump is scheduled to call a last-minute witness, Robert Costello, on Monday.
The $130,000 hush payment purportedly paid to adult film actor Stormy Daniels from Trump’s 2016 campaign, allegedly made in conjunction with an affair Trump denied, is being looked at by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The former president has rejected the investigation as a politically motivated witch hunt and denied any misconduct.
According to a report from The New York Times, Costello, who formerly assisted Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen and is a crucial witness in Bragg’s case against Trump, has been summoned to testify before the Manhattan grand jury on Monday. The Manhattan grand jury is expected to decide soon whether to indict Trump.
The Times reports no specifics on Costello’s anticipated testimony as of Monday morning. Costello told various media sites that he intends to give a deposition. His testimony comes after Trump declined Bragg’s invitation to testify before the grand jury.
Who Is Robert Costello? Connection to Trump Explained
Before 2019, when Cohen declined to retain him officially, and about the same time that Cohen turned against Trump after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations, Costello functioned as Cohen’s legal advisor. Cohen has also released Costello from the attorney-client privilege, enabling him to talk about earlier interactions in court.
Costello once questioned Trump’s legal team about the possibility of amnesty for Cohen.
When Bannon was accused of contempt of Congress for refusing to appear before the Select Committee Inquiring about the Attack on the US Capitol on January 6, Costello defended him.
According to his biography at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP, he has also litigated foremost League Baseball and the National Basketball Association investigative cases.
The Associated Press reports that his expected appearance will probably feature criticisms of Cohen’s remarks’ veracity.
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Trump Celebrates Costello’s Possible Testimony
Trump posted on his Truth Social social media network to celebrate Costello’s potential testimony.
“Just reported that the most important witness to go before the New York City grand jury, a highly respected lawyer who once represented convicted felon, jailbird, and serial fake storyteller and liar, Michael Cohen, will do so tomorrow afternoon,” Trump wrote Sunday. “The information he will present will supposedly be conclusive and irrefutable! Witch hunt!!!”
In the matter, Trump has defended his innocence. He stated over the weekend that he anticipated being detained in connection with the case on Tuesday and urged his fans to “protest.” The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has hinted that the probe is nearing its conclusion, but they have not specified a timeframe for when Trump will be charged.
Trump attorney Joseph Tacopina previously said there is no legal basis for the case, telling the Associated Press, “To me, it’s much ado about nothing. It’s just another example of them weaponizing the justice system against him. And it’s sort of unfair.”
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