Attorney Robert “Bob” Costello, once a legal adviser to Michael Cohen, has told NBC News that he will testify Monday before the New York grand jury considering former President Donald Trump‘s case Monday.
Trump’s attorneys asked the district attorney in Manhattan for Costello to testify in the case involving a hush money payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.
The fact that Costello will be appearing at the request of Trump’s team indicates he may contradict Cohen, who has been a key witness in the case.
Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer who pleaded guilty in federal court in 2018 to making the illegal payment to Daniels, testified before the grand jury last week. He has also met with prosecutors more than 20 times.
Cohen alleged that Trump directed him to pay the hush money for the “principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election. He said he will return to the district attorney’s office Monday to stand by as a rebuttal witness.
Costello said Sunday that he never signed a retainer agreement. He also said Cohen waived the attorney-client privilege in 2019 — a move that shocked attorneys who became aware of it.
Cohen, meanwhile, said Costello never represented him.
The news was first reported by The New York Times.
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment.
The district attorney’s office convened the grand jury to look into the payment to Daniels, who alleges she slept with Trump before he became president. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and said he didn’t have an affair with Daniel. But he did acknowledge that he repaid Cohen the $130,000, a payment he claims was legal.
Trump attorney Joe Tacopina said this month that Trump’s attorneys have “no plans” to meet with the district attorney’s office. And last week, Tacopina said the Trump won’t appear before the grand jury.
NBC News reported Friday that law enforcement agencies are gearing up for a possible indictment as early as next week. Following the report, Trump predicted Saturday on his social media platform, Truth Social, that he would be arrested Tuesday and called on supporters to protest.
Two senior law enforcement said an interagency policy meeting is planned for Monday about security in case Trump is indicted this week.
New York police also met Sunday to discuss possible security plans.
The Manhattan investigation is separate from the Justice Department’s probe into Trump’s role Jan. 6 Capitol attack and his handling of classified documents, which special counsel Jack Smith is overseeing.
Summer Concepcion is a politics reporter for NBC News.
Jonathan Dienst is chief justice contributor for NBC News and chief investigative reporter for WNBC-TV in New York.