New York attorney Robert J. Costello has been named as the secret witness that is being presented in defense of Donald Trump to discredit Michael Cohen. Only briefly mentioned in New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman's report, however, is that Costello was the one that dangled the pardon before Cohen on behalf of the former president.
"As a Republican lawyer with ties to Mr. Trump’s legal team, Mr. Costello offered to serve as a bridge between Mr. Cohen and the president’s lawyers," she wrote. At one point, Mr. Costello contacted one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers to ask if the president might pardon Mr. Cohen."
The pardon never came for Cohen, despite his efforts to cover up for his client. Cohen flipped and began telling everything, and then some, regarding Trump's participation in the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels. he also offered information on Trump's taxes, Trump Org. corruption, and a significant amount of information that is being used to prosecute Trump by the Manhattan district attorney as well as the New York attorney general.
Costello has close ties to Rudy Giuliani, who was told he's a target in the Georgia DA's case. According to an ABC News report from 2019, Cohen was staying mum about his last communication with Trump or a Trump ally.
"Unfortunately, this topic is something that's being investigated right now by the Southern District of New York, and I've been asked by them not to discuss and not to talk about these issues," Cohen said at the time.
In special counsel Robert Mueller's report, communications between Costello and Cohen were revealed.
The documents say: "In an email that day to Cohen, Costello wrote that he had spoken with Giuliani. Costello told Cohen the conversation was 'Very Very Positive [.] You are 'loved' ... they are in our corner ... Sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places.'"
Neither of Cohen's books, Revenge or Disloyal, mentioned Costello or their conversations. One of the things he did talk about, however, was former Attorney General Bill Barr hiring a new prosecutor at the Southern District of New York.
"The reason the president wanted a new head prosecutor in the Southern District, I knew better than anyone, was so that while in office, he could arrange to be federally indicted. In the event he loses the election in November, he could then pardon himself, as he’s long claimed to be his right," Cohen wrote in Disloyal. "The reason behind that unprecedented and serpentine thinking was that Trump knows perfectly well that he is guilty of the same crimes that resulted in my conviction and incarceration. He also knows that I would be a star witness in that case, and my book a fundamental piece of evidence for his guilt."
The grand jury meets Monday when Cohen and Costello will appear. The district attorney should then finalize his case, and the grand jury can decide whether or not to support an indictment.
Trump has already begun flying off the handle, claiming abuse of the system and that it's all political. Cohen already went to prison for his role in the scandal.