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Michael Cohen asked to be available in case witness is called to discredit him in Trump grand jury investigation, sources say

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Michael Cohen asked to be available in case witness is called to discredit him in Trump grand jury investigation, sources say

The lawyer could be called before a grand jury in Manhattan on Monday to discredit the main witness Michael Cohen in the investigation into former President Donald Trump, two sources confirmed to CBS News.

Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, has been asked to be available, if necessary, before a grand jury investigating alleged “hush money” payments Cohen made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Cohen has been asked to be in close proximity to the grand jury, which is meeting in Lower Manhattan, in case he needs to “kill” another witness who will testify on Monday.

Two sources told CBS News that attorney Robert Costello, who served as Cohen’s legal counsel before they fell out, could appear before a grand jury to discredit Cohen, a key witness in the Trump investigation. Trump’s lawyers have asked Costello to appear, the sources said, but it is unclear whether he will actually be called.

Michael Cohen leaves after testifying before a New York grand jury
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen leaves after testifying before a grand jury in Manhattan, New York on March 15, 2023.

Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Costello’s possible appearance was first reported by The New York Times.

Trump announced on social media on Saturday, which he expects to be arrested on Tuesday by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. He has not released any details about what he might be charged with, but Bragg’s office is investigating $130,000 that Cohen paid Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election. The president also urged his followers to “PROTEST, TAKE BACK OUR NATION!” in case of his arrest.

Earlier this month, Trump was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, a step that often signals an impending indictment. Joe Tacopina, Trump’s lawyer, said the former president would not accept a subpoena to appear.

Trump’s lawyer said Saturday that his social media comments were related to the news. “Because this is a political prosecution, the District Attorney’s Office has engaged in the practice of leaking everything to the press, rather than communicating with President Trump’s lawyers as would be done in a normal case,” Trump’s attorney Susan Necheles said in a statement to CBS News.

Bragg did not comment on Trump’s social media posts. But in a memo to staff on Saturday, Bragg warned of potential threats and said “your safety is our top priority”.

“We have full confidence in our outstanding security personnel and investigators, along with our excellent colleagues at the OCA and NYPD, and will continue to coordinate with all of them,” Bragg said in the memo. “We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York. Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats to the office are fully investigated and that appropriate safeguards are in place so that all 1,600 of us have safe work environment.”

Cohen, a central figure in Bragg’s investigation, testified before the grand jury last week. He reported to prison in May 2019 on federal charges related to the payment, as well as charges of tax evasion and lying to Congress.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, including that he ever had sex with Daniels. He called the case “a political witch hunt” and “an old and reproved case, rejected by all prosecutors.”

Caroline Linton contributed to this report.

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