OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A witness who testified before a grand jury on Monday in regard to an investigation into Donald Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has spoken publicly about another supposedly key witness in the case, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.
Robert Costello, who is a former legal advisor to Cohen, referred to him as a “convicted perjurer” and suggested that his testimony to the grand jury may be less than reliable regarding Trump.
News broke on Friday that Bragg was close to indicting Trump over hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 campaign, allegedly to keep her quiet about an affair the two of them had in 2006. The grand jury has been hearing evidence and testimony regarding the case, as well as his business practices.
Costello noted that he provided testimony despite being warned by others that he didn’t have anything to gain. He said he wanted to provide the truth to grand jurors, and to counter the lies promoted by the media. He added that if there was solid evidence to pursue Trump, no problem — but he suggested that Cohen is not necessarily a reliable witness.
“If you see the full picture, you know, listen, if they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence, so be it. But Michael Cohn is far from solid evidence,” he told NewsNation.
“This guy, by any prosecutor’s standard, and I used to be deputy chief of the criminal division in the Southern District of New York, I wouldn’t have touched the guy like Michael Cohen, especially if he’s a convicted perjurer,” he continued. “Not to mention, as I said, the 50 to 100 lies he [Cohen] told us that are in those 330 emails.”
Cohen, a former attorney for Trump who testified before the grand jury in the investigation earlier this week, admitted guilt in 2018 to various offenses, including violating campaign finance laws by paying $130,000 to Daniels. Cohen, who also was incarcerated for over a year after his conviction, claims that he made the payment at Trump’s behest, The Hill noted. He was sentenced to three years behind bars but was released to home confinement when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Daniels, meanwhile, met with Manhattan prosecutors who are leading the probe on Wednesday, the outlet continued.
🚨BREAKING: Michael Cohen's former legal advisor Robert Costello, who appeared before the Trump grand jury today calls Cohen a “convicted perjurer” and says he “is far from solid evidence”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) March 20, 2023
Trump acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment, but insisted that it was not associated with his campaign funds. The Trump Organization classified the payment reimbursing Cohen as a legitimate expenditure. Others have noted as well that Trump self-funded his first campaign.
Trump last week declined an invitation to appear before the grand jury, which experts say was another sign of an impending indictment — though that remains to be seen at this point.
In response to the news, a spokesperson for Trump, Steven Cheung, issued a statement to Fox News Digital criticizing Bragg, calling his investigation a “witch hunt” and alleging that Bragg was under the influence of President Biden and “radical Democrats.”
“President Donald J. Trump is completely innocent, he did nothing wrong, and even the biggest, most Radical Left Democrats are making that clear,” Cheung said. “From Russia, Russia, Russia, to the Mueller Hoax, to Impeachment Hoaxes 1 and 2, and even the Unlawful Mar-a-Lago Raid, Democrats have investigated and attacked President Trump since before he was elected – and they’ve failed every time.
“Now Democrats are at it again, pushing the ‘Nuclear Button’ and attacking a President because of a disgraced extortionist,” he added. “This is happening because President Trump is leading in the polls by a large margin against both Democrats and Republicans, and there’s never been anything so blatant in American political history.”
Cheung continued: “Everyone knows it’s a sham. In fact, the Department of Justice stocked the DA’s office with top people from DC to help ‘Get Trump’ at a local level. Americans will not tolerate Radical Left Democrats turning our justice system into an injustice system to influence a presidential election, which is all they want to do. Our Country is not going to let this happen. This will backfire massively for the Democrat Party, and end in disgrace for our Nation.”