Attorney Robert “Bob” Costello, once legal advisor to Michael Cohen, told NBC News he will testify Monday before a Manhattan grand jury considering former President Donald Trump’s case.
Trump’s lawyers have asked Costello’s district attorney to testify in a case involving hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.
The fact that Costello would appear at the request of Trump’s team indicates he may contradict Cohen, who has been a key witness in the case.
Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who pleaded guilty in federal court in 2018 to making illegal payments to Daniels, testified before a grand jury last week. He has met prosecutors more than 20 times.
Cohen alleged that Trump directed him to make secret money payments for the “prime purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. He told NBC News that he would return to the district attorney’s office on Monday to standby as a rebuttal witness.
Costello told NBC News on Sunday that he never signed a retainer agreement. He also said that Cohen waived attorney-client privilege in 2019 — a move that surprised attorneys who were aware of it.
Meanwhile, Cohen said that Costello never represented him.
This news was first reported by The New York Times.
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
The district attorney’s office convened a grand jury to investigate the payments to Daniels, who alleges she slept with Trump before he became president. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has said he had no affair with Daniels. But he acknowledged that he paid Cohen $130,000, a payment he claims was legal.
Tacopina said this month that there are “no plans” for Trump’s lawyers to meet with the district attorney’s office. And last week, Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina said Trump would not appear before the grand jury.
NBC News reported on Friday that law enforcement agencies are preparing for a possible indictment of Trump as early as next week. Following the report, Trump predicted on Saturday in a post to his social media platform Truth Social that he would be arrested on Tuesday and called on supporters to protest.
Two senior law enforcement officials told NBC News that an inter-agency policy meeting is planned for Monday regarding security in the event Trump indictments are handed down this week.
The New York City Police Department also held meetings Sunday to discuss possible security plans.
The Manhattan investigation is separate from the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s role. The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and his handling of classified documents is being handled by Special Counsel Jack Smith.