By Jack Phillips
Former President Donald Trump said that his former attorney, Michael Cohen, isn’t a credible witness as another Trump-affiliated lawyer, Robert Costello, indicated that he testified before a New York grand jury to destroy Cohen’s credibility.
“It is being said that disbarred lawyer Michael Cohen was put out to dry today after his highly respected former attorney and legal adviser, Robert Costello, made a great impression not only on the D.A.’s Office, but the grand jury itself. He is known to be a great lawyer and highly honorable man,” Trump wrote on Truth Social early on Tuesday. “He stated to the media that he could no longer listen to the lies that Cohen was spreading. He told the TRUTH, with papers, documents, and backup. He left ZERO doubt. THE D.A. WILL DO THE RIGHT THING!”
The former president also described Cohen, a former attorney who allegedly organized hush-money payments, as a “damaged” witness. “The Southern District of New York (SDNY) wrote a scathing assessment of him, including, ‘Michael Cohen is a lawyer who, rather than setting an example of respect for the law, instead chose to break the law, repeatedly over many years & in a variety of ways… each of his crimes involved deception,” Trump wrote.
It came a day after Costello told reporters Monday that he sought to destroy the credibility of a key witness as he testified before a Manhattan grand jury probing the former president’s alleged hush money payments to adult performer Stormy Daniels.
Costello testified before the grand jury for several hours on Monday amid reports and speculation that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg would be indicting Trump this week on federal charges of misclassifying those alleged hush money payments that were made in 2016. In interviews with several media outlets, Costello—a former legal adviser to erstwhile Trump attorney Michael Cohen—said he described Cohen as not credible.
“There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Michael Cohen has great difficulty telling the truth,” Costello, who represented former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, told reporters in Manhattan on Monday. “He is, after all a convicted perjurer, and our track record with Mr. Cohen convinced us that he was a serial liar.”
Described as a key witness in the Trump case, Cohen was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of willful tax evasion, lying to Congress, and campaign finance violations. Over the years and since being released from the federal prison in Otisville, New York, Cohen has often appeared in media interviews to criticize the former president.
Cohen has already appeared multiple times before the Manhattan grand jury. Costello’s testimony was expected to give the former president an indirect opportunity to make a case that he shouldn’t face criminal charges, though there were no clear signs his appearance had changed the course of the grand jury probe.
“As might be expected, Mr. Cohen’s lies were always uttered in a way that was beneficial to himself,” Costello explained Monday. “When it was in Mr. Cohen’s personal self-interest, he was capable of telling the truth, but those occasions were few and far between.”
Costello had provided Cohen, himself a lawyer, legal services several years ago. In a news conference after his grand jury appearance, he told reporters that he had come forward to provide exculpatory information about Trump and to make clear that he did not believe Cohen, who pleaded guilty to federal crimes and served time in prison, could be trusted.
“If they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence then so be it,” Costello said, according to The Associated Press. “But Michael Cohen is far from solid evidence.”
Responding to Costello’s claims on MSNBC Monday, Cohen stated that Costello was never his lawyer and “he lacks any sense of veracity.”
Cohen also released a statement to other news outlets and disputed his former associate’s testimony and public statements.
“IF Bob Costello’s comments were any more fantastical, he would be a bestselling fiction author,” he told Fox News. “I stated years ago that the payment was done at the direction of, in coordination with and for the benefit of Donald,” he added. “Truth is truth and the documents in the possession of the [New York County District Attorney’s Office] demonstrate this.”
His lawyer, Lanny Davis, told CNN that Cohen had made himself available as a rebuttal to Costello’s testimony on Monday at the district attorney’s office. However, he wasn’t needed, the lawyer said.
“Mr. Cohen was available for over two hours today, but we are pleased to report Mr. Cohen was not needed. Once again we repeat—the facts and documents speak for themselves. Facts do matter,” Davis said.
The Epoch Times has contacted Cohen’s lawyers for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.