Critic of Michael Cohen invited to testify in Trump probe


Robert Costello, a onetime legal advisor to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, will appear on Monday before the New York grand jury investigating former President Trump over his alleged involvement in a hush-money payment.

Costello, who recently represented Rudy Giuliani and Steven Bannon during Justice Department investigations and the House Jan. 6 committee hearings, confirmed to The Hill that he will be appearing before the grand jury on Monday.

CNN reported his planned appearance earlier on Sunday. The New York Times reported that people with knowledge of the matter said that Costello will testify before the grand jury to attack Cohen’s credibility. Cohen, a key witness in the case, said on Sunday he was asked to appear as a “rebuttal witness” at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

The Times also reported that Costello will be appearing before the grand jury at the request of Trump’s legal team, likely in an effort to undermine Cohen’s testimony about the hush-money payments.

The Hill has reached out to Costello for comment.

Cohen told MSNBC’s Alex Witt on Sunday that he did not know whether his appearance on Monday would be before the grand jury or just a meeting with the DA’s office. He also signaled that another witness would appear on Monday, but did not know who it was.

“I don’t know who the person is. Obviously once I find out who the person is I’ll know what the issue is because I was personally involved,” he said. “Again, I don’t know. It’s a little premature for me to be answering any questions on a topic that I, again, I don’t know who the person is and whether or not that person is or is not going to tell the truth.”

The New York grand jury probing the payment has come under a national spotlight this week after Trump said in a Truth Social post on Saturday that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday in connection with the investigation. The president also called for protests of his arrest, which has sparked concerns of violence.

The jury is investigating Trump in relation to a hush-money payment made to Stormy Daniels to stop her from exposing an alleged affair she had with the former president. Cohen has admitted to being involved in the scheme, while Trump denies the affair even happened.

Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 for setting up the the payment and paid $1.4 million in restitution and forfeited $500,000.

Costello reportedly talked to Cohen about representing him in 2018, and then reached out to Trump officials about a pardon on Cohen’s behalf. However, their relationship soured as Cohen became an outspoken Trump critic, and Cohen refused to pay a legal bill from Costello, according to the New York Times.

Reached for comment, the district attorney’s office declined to confirm whether Costello would be appearing before the grand jury and declined to comment on Trump’s claims that he’ll be arrested Tuesday.

Updated: 6:32 p.m.

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