At 11th Hour, NYC Grand Jury to Hear From Trump Ally

Robert Costello appearing Monday in 'hush money' case
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2023 1:08 AM CDT
Updated Mar 20, 2023 6:26 AM CDT
In Last-Minute Move, Trump Ally Testifying Before NYC Grand Jury
FILE - Former President Donald J. Trump watches the NCAA Wrestling Championships, Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Tulsa, Okla.   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

The New York grand jury that's considering the "hush money" case involving former President Trump will hear from one of Trump's allies Monday. Robert Costello, a formal legal adviser to longtime Trump Organization lawyer and "fixer" Michael Cohen who has also represented Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, confirmed his appearance to NBC News. As the AP puts it, this gives Trump "an indirect opportunity to make a case that he shouldn't face criminal charges over" the hush money Cohen paid to Stormy Daniels during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Trump's lawyers asked the Manhattan district attorney to have Costello testify, a source says.

Insider reports that a possible Trump indictment is on hold awaiting Costello's testimony, and Cohen says he's also made himself available Monday in case he's called to rebut Costello. And sources tell CNN and Reuters that Costello, indeed, is expected to contradict testimony given by Cohen, a key witness for the prosecution. Cohen appeared before the grand jury two times last week; Trump declined an invitation to testify. Despite Trump saying last week that he expects to be arrested Tuesday, a Trump spokesperson says the former president has not been notified of an impending arrest. But New York police met Sunday to talk about security plans should an indictment be handed down, and two senior law enforcement sources say an interagency meeting on the matter is set for Monday.

The grand jury will convene for three hours on Monday, and if the grand jurors aren't able to hear all evidence and then be "charged" by prosecutors regarding the relevant law during that time, they would need to reconvene Wednesday. Trump, without naming Costello specifically, posted on Truth Social Sunday that "THE INFORMATION HE WILL PRESENT WILL SUPPOSEDLY BE CONCLUSIVE AND IRREFUTABLE! WITCH HUNT!!!" He also accused President Biden of playing an unspecified role in the investigation, giving no evidence of such a role. (The Manhattan DA says his office won't be intimidated.)

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