Michael Cohen’s former lawyer accused him of lying on stand about payment to Stormy Daniels

A lawyer who briefly represented Michael Cohen told a House committee Wednesday that Mr. Cohen lied on the stand about key details in former President Donald Trump’s criminal hush money case.

The lawyer also said Mr. Cohen told him: “I swear to God, I don’t have anything on Donald Trump.” 

Lawyer Robert Costello, who represented Mr. Cohen from April to July of 2018 when Mr. Cohen‘s business dealings were under investigation by federal prosecutors, said Mr. Cohen‘s testimony in the ongoing hush money trial has been full of lies.

“I read Michael Cohen’s testimony from yesterday’s trial in New York on the way down on the train and virtually every statement he made about me was another lie,” Mr. Costello said at a hearing before the House Weaponization of the Federal Government Subcommittee.

Mr. Costello testified that Mr. Cohen told him he did not believe porn actress Stormy Daniels’ claim about her sexual encounter with Mr. Trump in 2006. Mr. Cohen told Mr. Costello he thought it would be “terribly embarrassing” if Ms. Daniels went public with the story.

“He said, ‘I didn’t want to embarrass Melania Trump … that’s why I decided to take care of this on my own,’” Mr. Costello recalled.

Mr. Cohen told him the money to silence Ms. Daniel’s story was obtained through a Home Equity Line Of Credit because he didn’t want anyone to know where he got the money.

Mr. Costello’s story clashes with Mr. Cohen’s testimony in court, where he claimed Mr. Trump signed the check to Ms. Daniels and was at the center of the effort to quash her story.  

“Everything required Mr. Trump’s sign-off,” Mr. Cohen testified this week. 

Mr. Costello said Mr. Cohen, who acted as the former president’s “fixer,” told him he was acting on his own when he paid off Ms. Daniels and did it “to get back into the inner circle of Donald Trump.”

Mr. Costello said Mr. Cohen felt “betrayed” when he was not tapped for a White House job. 

He said Mr. Cohen lied on the stand about key details, and likes to “cherry-pick certain emails or text messages …to make them look like something else.”

Mr. Costello also said Mr. Cohen lied about him working with former Trump attorney Rudy Giulian in 2018 to keep him quiet about the hush money payments.

“The back channel was Bob Costello to Rudy to President Trump,” Mr. Cohen said on the stand Tuesday.

Several emails were shown in court to bolster Mr. Cohen’s claims.

“I just spoke to Rudy Giuliani and told him I was on your team. Rudy was thrilled and said this could not be a better situation for the President or you. He asked me if it was ok to call the President and Jay Sekulow and I said fine,” said one email from Mr. Costello to Mr. Cohen.

“Sleep well tonight. You have friends in high places,” another email from Mr. Costello said after he had had a conversation with Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Costello said the allegations were “ridiculous” because when he first met Mr. Cohen, he seemed distraught and eager to say or do anything to stay out of jail.

“I will do whatever the F—k I have to do. I will never spend one day in jail,” Mr. Costello said Mr. Cohen told him repeatedly during their meeting at the Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan, adding that Mr. Cohen even admitted to contemplating suicide to get out of his legal troubles.

Mr. Costello told him that one way to stay out of jail was to provide any damning evidence against Mr. Trump, because that was likely who prosecutors were really after. But Mr. Cohen said he had nothing. 

“I swear to God, Bob, I don’t have anything on Donald Trump,” Mr. Costello said Mr. Cohen told him multiple times.

Mr. Cohen had waived attorney-client privilege, allowing Mr. Costello to testify about their conversations on Wednesday. 

Mr. Costello said he tried to warn Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the man who brought the hush money case against Mr. Trump, that Mr. Cohen was an “inveterate liar.” 

He provided all of the details to Mr. Bragg and Mr. Trump’s lawyers. 

Mr. Bragg declined to meet with him.

Mr. Cohen is set to take the stand again Thursday to continue with cross-examination.

Mr. Costello told CBS News on Tuesday that Mr. Trump‘s lawyer Todd Blanche had reached out to him as a possible defense witness.

Mr. Trump pleaded not guilty last year to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with reimbursement payments to Mr. Cohen. His lawyers have said the payments to Mr. Cohen were actual legal expenses and not to cover up his alleged sexual encounter with Ms. Daniels.

The Congressional Integrity Project, a nonprofit government integrity organization, railed against the hearing with Mr. Costello, and the visits by Republican lawmakers to the Manhattan courthouse, saying Republicans are “going all out to defend Donald Trump, attack the rule of law, and attempt to harm President Biden politically.”



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