According to Reuters, Trump case, a lawyer called to testify behind closed doors in New York on Monday may challenge a crucial witness’ assertions before a grand jury decides whether to indict former President Donald Trump for hush money paid to a porn star.
According to the source, Robert Costello has been summoned before the grand jury at the request of Trump’s lawyers because he may have information that throws into doubt the events detailed by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.
According to a second unnamed source, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has urged Cohen to be present on Monday as a rebuttal witness if necessary. Cohen testified twice to the grand jury last week.
Trump, whose followers stormed the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to overturn his 2020 election loss, declared on Saturday that he expects to be detained on Tuesday and has called for protests. On Tuesday, he alleged “illegal leaks” indicated an arrest, but he presented no evidence, and his spokesperson said Trump had not been alerted of any planned arrest.
Trump’s invitation to protest overshadowed the opening of a three-day retreat in Florida for Republicans in the United States House of Representatives.
“I don’t think people should demonstrate,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to reporters. “We’re looking for peace and quiet out there.”
Earlier this month, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office summoned Trump to testify before a grand jury investigating the payment, which legal experts believed was a sign that an indictment was imminent. According to a source familiar with the incident, Trump declined the offer.
No president of the United States has ever faced criminal charges, either while in office or subsequently. Trump, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, has stated that he will continue to campaign even if charged with a crime.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is looking into a $130,000 hush payment made by Trump’s estranged personal fixer, Michael Cohen, to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
According to sources, Bragg’s office has been presenting information to a grand jury about the money made to Daniels in exchange for her silence over an affair she said she had with Trump a decade ago.
The grand jury will decide whether there is enough evidence to charge Trump with a felony. The proceedings are not open to the public.
Costello’s testimony, according to the first source, would focus on the payment to Stormy Daniels and how it came about. Costello is most known for his representation of former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Cohen met with Costello years ago and was offered a retainer agreement, but he never signed it, according to the first source. Cohen also waived attorney-client privilege in 2019, according to the source.
THE ‘WITCH HUNT’
Cohen received a prison sentence in 2018 after pleading guilty in federal court to campaign finance violations related to hush money payments to Daniels and another woman during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, among other offenses.
Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels and has called Bragg’s inquiry a political witch hunt.
“THE WITCH HUNT NEVER ENDS, BUT WE WILL RESTORE THE USA!!!” On Sunday, Trump made a social media post.
The prospect of Trump’s arrest may be bolstering his support, according to New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a fellow Republican, on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
“It’s creating a lot of compassion for the former president,” Sununu, a relative moderate who is considering a presidential bid and appears to be trying to avoid upsetting Trump supporters, said.
When asked if Trump had a specific obligation to ensure protests did not devolve into violence, Sununu responded, “Well, yes,” but quickly added that this was a bigger society responsibility, stating “you can’t simply put it on the past president.”
H.R. McMaster, Trump’s former national security adviser, and Gary Cohn, Trump’s former economic adviser, both advised Trump supporters on Sunday to respond peacefully to any developments this week.
Leading Republicans, including Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence and House Leader Kevin McCarthy, have argued that any prosecution by Democrat Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Ferrer would be politically motivated.
On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to accuse President Joe Biden of interfering in the Manhattan investigation, but he provided no evidence. The White House did not reply quickly to a request for comment.
On Sunday, a spokeswoman for Bragg declined to comment.
Law experts say that even if Trump is indicted, a trial might take more than a year, possibly during the closing months of the 2024 presidential campaign.