Attorney Robert “Bob” Costello, once legal counsel to Michael Cohen, has told NBC News he will testify Monday before the New York grand jury hearing the case of former President Donald Trump on Monday.
According to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, Trump’s attorneys have asked the Manhattan district attorney to testify for Costello in the case of a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The fact that Costello will appear at the request of Trump’s team indicates that he may contradict Cohen, who was a key witness in the case.
Cohen, Trump’s former attorney who pleaded guilty in federal court in 2018 to making the illegal payment to Daniels, testified before the grand jury last week. He has also met with prosecutors more than 20 times.
Cohen claimed that Trump directed him to pay the hush money for the “primary purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election.” He said he will return to the district attorney’s office on Monday to stand by as a rebuttal witness.
Costello said on Sunday that he never signed a retainer deal. He also said Cohen relinquished the attorney-client privilege in 2019 — a move that shocked lawyers who became aware of it.
Cohen, meanwhile, said Costello never represented him.
The news was first reported by The New York Times.
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney declined to comment.
The district attorney’s office convened the grand jury to investigate the payment to Daniels, who claims she slept with Trump before he became president. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and said he had no affair with Daniel. But he did acknowledge that he refunded Cohen the $130,000, a payment he said was legal.
Trump attorney Joe Tacopina said this month that Trump’s lawyers have “no plans” to meet with the district attorney’s office. And last week, Tacopina said Trump will not appear before the grand jury.
NBC News reported on Friday that law enforcement agencies are gearing up for a possible indictment as early as next week. Following the report, Trump predicted on his social media platform Truth Social on Saturday that he would be arrested Tuesday and called on supporters to protest.
Two senior law enforcement officials said an interinstitutional policy meeting is scheduled for Monday on security in case Trump is impeached this week.
The New York Police Department also met on Sunday to discuss potential security plans.
The Manhattan investigation is separate from the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol and his handling of classified documents, overseen by Special Counsel Jack Smith.