A former legal adviser to Michael Cohen, a key witness in the New York grand jury investigation into former President Donald Trump's alleged payment to adult actress Stormy Daniels, has claimed that the former Trump attorney is "far from solid evidence."
Veteran New York Attorney Robert Costello made the comments to reporters shortly after he appeared before a grand jury Monday to challenge the credibility and honesty of Cohen, who testified to the Manhattan grand jury on March 15 and is considered a critical witness in District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation into Trump.
Costello has represented a string of Trump allies in the past and claims he briefly acted as a legal adviser to Cohen in 2018 when the FBI raided his home amid a probe into tax evasion, among other criminal charges.
"I'm the one who decided to do this. A lot of people cautioned me against it because I have nothing to gain. The only thing I'm doing is trying to tell the truth to the grand jurors because I read all these lies in the media that are being promoted by one side," said Costello. "If you see the full picture ... If they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence, so be it."
Cohen 'Far From Solid Evidence'"But Michael Cohen is far from solid evidence," added Costello. "This guy, by any prosectors' standard—and I used to be deputy chief of the criminal division in the Southern District of New York—I wouldn't have touched a guy like Michael Cohen, especially if he's a convicted perjurer."
Cohen claims that Trump, during his 2016 presidential campaign, directed him to arrange the payment to Daniels as "hush money" in order to buy her silence after she claimed to have had an affair with Trump. The money was allegedly paid using campaign funds, a violation of campaign finance law.
Elsewhere on Monday, Costello told reporters that he'd handed over more than 300 emails involving his discussions with Cohen to prosecutors but that they had "cherry-picked" just six emails to question him about and that their context had been taken out of context in front of the jury.
It is not immediately clear what impact Costello’s testimony will have on the outcome of the investigation currently debating whether or not to charge the former president. No charges have been announced so far.
Cohen Says Costello 'Making Up Stories'During an interview on MSNBC on Monday evening, Cohen dismissed most of Costello’s claims during the testimony as "false statements" that have "no accuracy."
He also denied that Costello had ever been his lawyer or that he had ever waived attorney-client privilege, as Costello has said.
"I don't know what he's talking about," Cohen said. "He’s making up so many stories here."
Cohen also said that prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney's office had summoned him to the Lower Manhattan courthouse to rebut Costello's testimony but that it was ultimately decided he was not needed.
During his comments to reports on Monday, Costello said Cohen previously said he had not used Trump’s money to make the payment but had taken out a loan, adding that Cohen had told him he did so because "I wanted to this secret. I didn’t even want my own wife to know."
He also asserted that Trump did not know about Cohen taking out the loan.