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Molly Crane-Newman | (TNS) New York Daily News
A criminal indictment against Donald Trump could drop as soon as Monday in the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal investigation into the former’s president’s hush money deal with a porn star — after the panel hears from who is likely the final witness.
The grand jury was scheduled to hear testimony from Bob Costello Monday afternoon — a veteran New York City defense lawyer who’s represented former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and right-wing strategist Steve Bannon. He’s appearing as a witness for Trump, a source with direct knowledge who asked to remain anonymous told the Daily News.
Costello is expected to offer testimony intended to undermine Michael Cohen’s credibility. Trump’s ex-fixer and now foe, who testified before the grand jury twice last week, on Sunday said during an MSNBC appearance that he had been called back to meet with DA investigators. He expects to rebut Costello’s testimony.
Trump last week declined to testify before the grand jury, The News reported. Prosecutors commonly extend such an invitation in the final stages of a probe.
Once the DA has finished calling witnesses, the grand jury, which has been hearing evidence since January, will be tasked with deciding whether or not to return an indictment. Depending on the pace of proceedings, the vote could happen Monday or when the panel returns on Wednesday. One source involved in the case said they did not think it would come on Monday.
No charges have been filed against Trump, nor does anyone know how the grand jury will vote. But local and federal authorities were preparing Monday for chaos to descend on the lower Manhattan courthouses should an indictment come down the pike after Trump called for his supporters to “protest” his arrest.
A source told The News that NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Mayor Adams had plans to hold a security briefing for elected officials on Monday afternoon.
Costello acted as a legal adviser to Cohen in 2018 before their relationship soured. Their communications were outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russia’s attack on the 2016 election. The report said Costello began advising Cohen after the FBI raided his office and hotel room in 2018.
As Trump tweeted that he was confident his fixer wouldn’t flip on him, Costello emailed Cohen words of comfort, saying he had a “Very Very Positive” conversation with Giuliani.
“You are ‘loved,’” Costello wrote in an email to Cohen, according to the Mueller report. “They are in our corner. . . . Sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places.”
Four months later, Cohen pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to issuing the $130,000 hush payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and helping to arrange another to Playboy model Karen McDougal, paid out by the National Enquirer’s publisher, among other crimes. He said Trump directed the payments and that they were made for the “principal purpose” of influencing the presidential election. Sources say DA Bragg is exploring whether Trump committed a felony in paying back Cohen.
In the feds’ case, they said Cohen falsely billed Trump, and his company for retainer services, and the company logged them as “legal expenses.”
Trump, over the weekend, predicted he would be arrested Tuesday, basing his guess on unspecified media leaks. Trump had not been notified of any charges stemming from the ongoing probe, according to a source.
Cohen did not return calls seeking comment on Monday. Costello declined to comment. The Manhattan DA’s office has declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.
With Chris Sommerfeldt
©2023 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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