Donald Trump refused to testify before the Manhattan Grand Jury — the panel whose deliberations are rumored to be leading to an indictment this week — but someone else is appearing Monday in his defense.
The witness hasn’t been officially disclosed, but people close to the case say it’s likely to be another attorney associated with Trump — and that his role is to contradict Michael Cohen’s testimony.
Cohen has admitted to making hush payments to Stormy Daniels on Trump’s behalf and to a scheme by which his repayment would be hidden in legal fees.
However, the former president’s legal team is reportedly sending in Robert Costello, an attorney who has represented Trump-linked individuals such as Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, to attempt to discredit Cohen.
Though Trump’s legal team has asked Costello to weigh in, the Grand Jury reportedly invited Michael Cohen to be available for rebutting the testimony on Monday — without informing him whose testimony he’d be rebutting.
It’s expected that the defense witness will share his point of view with the panel and that Cohen will then be able to respond to that testimony.
Cohen is prepared though — he says that he realizes attacking his credibility is an expected avenue, but that he combats this by backing up his testimony with documentary evidence.
He says that he can’t yet say how he’ll respond to the witness, since he doesn’t have any official notice of who it is, but he’ll be there on Monday to address the defense witness in whatever capacity necessary.
From The Hill:
“Cohen said he was asked to go to the DA’s office as a rebuttal witness but was not aware of whether that would be before the grand jury or just a meeting. He indicated the DA’s office was bringing another witness in on Monday but did not know who that individual was.”
Though Cohen may not know — and there is no official release — the word from sources close to the case is that the witness will be Costello, who, according to The New York Times, was once a legal advisor to Cohen, and who Trump’s attorneys have reportedly chosen as their defense witness, as allowable under New York law.
Regardless, Cohen isn’t too concerned — he says he’ll be prepared to respond with facts and evidence, and notes that Al Capone, too, was taken down by a lesser crime when he couldn’t be pinned down for murder or extortion.
“Rest assured, Alvin Bragg is not making a mistake.” Michael Cohen speaks to Rev. Sharpton about the seriousness of the Manhattan DA's case and why it could be the first to hold Trump accountable. https://t.co/MlCbQC2YKr pic.twitter.com/BzFBinHMGy
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 19, 2023
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.