Attorney Robert Costello, who represented former Trump attorney Michael Cohen in 2018, was the final witness to appear before the grand jury in New York City District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against former President Donald Trump. Following two hours of testimony earlier in the day, Costello joined Tucker Carlson on Monday night to weigh in.
Costello attacked Cohen’s credibility. He described Bragg’s case as “weak,“ and said that Cohen has a “lie, cheat and steal, mindset.”
He told Carlson it was clear to him that “the Manhattan DA’s office did not want to get to the truth.” Costello explained:
I called them up after I saw Michael Cohen on TV stating things that he said he was going to tell the grand jury and had told the grand jury that were contrary to what he told us when we first represented him in April of 2018. So I’m sitting at home watching these lies and I said I’ve got to do something about it. I don’t represent Donald Trump, but I do stand for justice. And I think I have a legal obligation to inform both sides. So that’s what I did.
He recounted a meeting he’d had with the U.S. Attorney’s office. Costello told officials that Cohen had been suicidal in 2018. He was extremely frightened about the prospect of going to prison. Costello alleged Cohen had told him and his partner that he had stood on the roof of the Regency Hotel in Manhattan and contemplated jumping. Costello said this episode was later corroborated by the Reverend Jerry Falwell and his wife.
That was important because, had Cohen chosen to share information about Trump, he may have been able to avoid serving time in jail, something he feared deeply.
When you’re suicidal, thinking that’s the only way out of your legal mess, and you’re presented with the following options, that you can cooperate against Donald Trump and provide information that would get you a get out of jail free card, and you respond to us, ‘I do not have any information on Donald Trump,’ … then you know that you’ve got a guy who probably doesn’t have anything.
During their first meeting with Cohen, Costello and his partner asked him numerous times if he could provide any derogatory information about Trump that might help his case. According to Costello, Cohen repeatedly replied, “‘I swear to God Bob, I don’t have anything on Donald Trump.'”
He’s marching up and down on the other side of the conference table like a tiger in the zoo. Back and forth. … He looked like he hadn’t slept in five days. He looked like somebody who was suicidal. And every once in a while, he would stop and point at us … he did this at least 20 times, and say, ‘Guys, I want you to know, I will do whatever the f*** I have to do. I will never spend one day in jail.’
Now what he’s saying is, ‘I’ll lie, cheat, steal, shoot somebody.’ … Do you think a guy whose mentality is that is going to not admit he has information on Donald Trump?
Carlson asked Costello, “If you were a prosecutor and you were trying to be fair and honest and serve the law rather than a political agenda, you’d want to know that, wouldn’t you?”
Absolutely. And I told them and told the grand jury today I was Deputy Chief of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District. I said I wouldn’t touch a witness like Michael Cohen for any amount of money. You simply cannot rely upon this guy.
And tonight, he [Cohen] was on another station denying that he waived the attorney-client privilege. [Costello held up a document] Here it is – in writing – and that’s his signature on the second page.
Costello was the last witness presented to the jury. And the consensus is that his attacks on Cohen’s credibility are unlikely to stop the indictment. MSNBC characterized Costello as a “last ditch witness.”
The New York Times reported that Costello had had a “falling out.” The jury would likely take that into account when weighing his testimony.
MSNBC legal reporter Jordan Rubin noted that the standard of proof threshold for a grand jury is far lower than the “beyond a reasonable doubt standard” required by a jury at a trial. Rubin wrote:
Rather, the grand jury decides whether to formally accuse a person of having committed a crime, based on whether there’s reasonable cause to believe that the person committed that crime.
And if last-minute testimony has the ability to throw the case in Trump’s favor, even under this relatively generous standard for prosecutors, then Bragg might not have had a case to begin with.
Psssst: Bragg still doesn’t have a case and every serious person knows it.