Trump Says a ‘Most Important Witness’ to Testify Before NYC Grand Jury

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
March 20, 2023US News

Former President Donald Trump praised recent reports that a lawyer who briefly acted as a legal adviser to Michael Cohen is expected to testify on Monday before a New York grand jury investigating whether to charge the former president over claims he paid hush money to an adult actress during his 2016 presidential campaign.

“Just reported that the most important witness to go before the New York City grand jury, a highly respected lawyer who once represented convicted felon, jailbird, and serial fake storyteller and liar, Michael Cohen, will be doing so tomorrow afternoon,” Trump wrote in a March 19 post on Truth Social.

“The information he will present will supposedly be conclusive and irrefutable! Witch hunt!!!” he continued.

According to several reports, one-time legal adviser Robert Costello is set to appear—at the request of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office—before a grand jury after saying he had information raising questions about the credibility of Cohen, a key witness in the investigation who previously testified that Trump directed him to arrange a $130,000 payment to adult actress Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Costello, a veteran New York attorney who previously represented Trump allies such as his former political strategist Steve Bannon and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, confirmed to The Hill on March 19 that he will appear before the grand jury on Monday.

NTD Photo
Attorneys Robert Costello (L), David Schoen (C), and advisor to former President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, appear outside the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington on June 15, 2022. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

It was unclear whether Costello’s testimony has any potential to change the course of a grand jury probe that seems close to concluding.

Costello briefly acted as a legal adviser to Cohen after the FBI raided Cohen’s home and apartment in 2018. At the time, Cohen was being investigated for tax evasion and allegedly helping to orchestrate the buying of the silence of two women who claimed to have had affairs with Trump.

Cohen ultimately decided to plead guilty concerning the payments to Daniels and model Karen McDougal, which he claimed were directed by Trump. Since then, he has been a vociferous Trump critic, testifying before Congress and to the Manhattan grand jury.

Trump has denied claims that he had an affair with either Daniels or McDougal and has censured Cohen as a liar. Costello broke relations with Cohen before he pleaded guilty and after it became clear, he was no longer in Trump’s camp.

The Manhattan DA’s office was not immediately available to comment.

‘Prosecutorial Misconduct’

Trump has criticized the New York investigation, specifically Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat who received $1 million in campaign cash from a George Soros-linked organization.

The former president accused Bragg of misconduct over his office’s investigation into the alleged hush money payment, calling for an investigation into whether the district attorney is interfering in the 2024 election.

On March 19, Trump wrote on Truth Social, “there was no crime, period,” and accused Bragg of acting in a politically motivated manner.

“All other of the many Democrat law enforcement officers that looked at it, took a pass. So did [former Manhattan DA] Cy Vance, and so did Bragg. But then, much latter​ [sic]​, he changed his mind. Gee, I wonder why? Prosecutorial Misconduct and Interference with an Election. Investigate the Investigators!” Trump wrote on Sunday.

Trump, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, did not say in his Truth Social posts whether he had been formally notified of forthcoming charges and did not discuss the possible charges in the post. A spokesperson for Trump, Steven Cheung, told The Epoch Times that his team hadn’t been formally notified of any pending arrest.

No U.S. president has faced criminal charges while in office or afterward. Trump has said he will continue campaigning even if charged with a crime, and he is expected to hold a rally later in March in Waco, Texas.

Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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