Stormy Daniels' ex-attorney says Michael Cohen swore Trump wasn't involved in payment

 May 16, 2024

The former Trump attorney allegedly told a lawyer who had worked with Michael Cohen that the president had nothing to do with the hush money payment to pornographic artist Stormy Daniels and that Cohen personally oversaw the deal.

During the same week that Cohen has been testifying against his former employer in a Manhattan courtroom, Robert Costello, an attorney who advised Cohen when he was faced with federal charges in 2018, testified before the House Weaponization Committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, according to a report by Fox News.

As Costello, a former federal prosecutor in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, noted, "waived the attorney-client privilege and the duty of loyalty of a lawyer to a client," which allowed him to reveal his interactions with Cohen.

The Case

As part of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's case against Trump, Costello appeared before a grand jury. Just weeks before Trump was indicted on 34 charges of first-degree falsifying business records by Bragg's grand jury in March 2023, Costello gave a testimony.

On all counts, Trump entered a not-guilty plea.

After being indicted, the former Trump attorney was described by Cohen as "suicidal and desperately looking for an escape route" in a 2018 conversation that Costello recounted with Cohen.

"I advised him that the SDNY thought he had committed crimes and that he might have evidence they could use for a prosecution of President Trump," Costello testified Wednesday.

"I explained to Cohen how he was not the target of the investigation but was a bump in the road and that the U.S. Attorney’s Office would run over him if it led them to Donald Trump."

Costello's Testimony

Costello asserted in his testimony that he explained to Cohen that if he had "truthful information that would implicate Donald Trump, I could get him out his legal trouble by the end of the week — if he cooperated against Donald Trump."

"I emphasized that any information Cohen could give would have to be truthful, otherwise it was useless," Costello testified, saying he did this "numerous times" during their first meeting.

"Each time, Cohen said to me, ‘I swear to God, Bob, I don’t have anything on Donald Trump,’" Costello recalled Cohen saying. "Cohen must have said this at least ten times because I kept coming back to it from different approaches."

Cohen's Alleged Comments

According to Costello, Cohen promised to do "whatever" it took to avoid going to jail altogether during their conversation.

Cohen was allegedly said by Costello to have expressed "seriously contemplating jumping off" the roof of the New York City Regency Hotel due to his inability to cope with the impending criminal case, a reference to a phone call that took place a few days previously.

Costello stated that he encouraged Cohen to reconsider.

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