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Michael Cohen's former lawyer testifies for defense, clashes with judge in Trump's New York trial
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Michael Cohen's former lawyer testifies for defense, clashes with judge in Trump's New York trial

Defense requests dismissal of charges against Trump.

Michael Cohen's former lawyer, Robert Costello, testified for the defense on Monday in the New York criminal case against former President Donald Trump, according to live updates from the courthouse.

Trump's lawyer, Todd Blanche, called the defense team's first witness, Daniel Sitko, a paralegal at Blanche's law firm.

Sitko explained that he created a summary chart of the calls between Cohen and Costello, who briefly acted as Cohen's attorney in 2018. Cohen has argued that he never had a formal agreement with Costello to represent him.

'You don't give me a side eye and you don't roll your eyes.'

Last week, Costello told lawmakers during a Weaponization of the Federal Government hearing that Cohen had repeatedly lied while testifying on the stand in the New York criminal trial against Trump, Blaze News previously reported. Costello smeared Cohen's reputation, calling him an "inveterate liar."

According to Costello, Cohen told him he paid the $130,000 settlement agreement to porn actress Stormy Daniels by himself and without consulting Trump. Costello argued that Cohen was desperate to regain favor with Trump and receive a position at the White House.

While testifying Monday, Sitko explained that despite Cohen's claims, he never formally hired Costello. The two exchanged 75 calls in April, May, and June 2018. One of the phone calls lasted 96 minutes, he stated.

Costello testified for the defense on Monday afternoon. He told jurors about his first meeting with Cohen on April 17, 2018. Costello noted that one of his partners, Jeffrey Citron, also attended the meeting.

According to Costello, Cohen was "absolutely manic" throughout the two-hour meeting at the Regency Hotel in Manhattan. At the time of the meeting, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had recently raided Cohen's hotel and office.

"He kept on pacing back and forth, left and right," Costello testified.

He told jurors that Cohen had repeatedly said to him that Trump was not involved in the settlement agreement with Daniels.

According to Costello, Cohen said, "'I really want you to explain to me what my options are: What's my escape route?' That's the phrase he used."

Cohen reportedly told Costello, "I swear to God, Bob, I don't have anything on Donald Trump." Costello said he repeated the sentence 10 to 12 times during the April meeting.

"Michael Cohen said numerous times that President Trump knew nothing about those payments, that he did this on his own. He repeated that numerous times," Costello testified.

While on the stand, Costello became frustrated when Judge Juan Merchan sustained multiple objections from the prosecution in response to his testimony. Costello rolled his eyes, audibly sighed, and remarked, "Ridiculous."

Merchan told Costello, "You don't give me a side eye and you don't roll your eyes. ... When there's a witness on the stand, if you don't like my ruling, you don't say 'jeez.' You don't say 'strike it.'"

At one point, Costello gave Merchan a long glare, prompting the judge to tell people to temporarily "clear the courtroom." After a few minutes, the defense was able to proceed with its direct examination of its second witness.

During cross-examination, Costello explained that Cohen had told him he had considered suicide "because he couldn't handle the pressure of the ongoing criminal case coming his way."

Anything else?

Emil Bove, Trump's attorney, stated that he does not expect to call any additional witnesses after Costello.

Blanche requested that the judge dismiss the charges against Trump, arguing that the prosecution failed to prove its case.

"There's no evidence that there's any idea or any intent to mislead or to hide or to falsify the business records," Blanche told the judge. "There's no evidence, zero, that anyone was thinking about a campaign finance charge in 2016 when this payment was made to Ms. Daniels."

Blanche also contended that there was no evidence that any of the "purported co-conspirators had any criminal intent at the time they were engaging in this conduct." He requested that Merchan find Cohen "not credible as a matter of law."

"We didn't just catch him in a lie, your honor, he came in here with a history of lying," Blanche argued. "He testified and he lied under oath in this courtroom. … The consequences of that lie, if accepted, by the jury is a conviction."

"There is no way the court should let this case go to the jury relying on Mr. Cohen's testimony," Blanche declared.

Merchan stated that he would respond to the defense's dismissal argument at a later time.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →