Skip to main content
Tags: donald trump | robert costello | defense | lawyer | michael cohen | judge | juan merchan

Costello's Testimony Continues After Merchan Kicked Him off Stand

By    |   Tuesday, 21 May 2024 07:17 AM EDT

A defense witness in Donald Trump's legal expenses trial whom the judge threatened to remove from the trial over his behavior will return to the stand Tuesday as the trial nears its end.

Trump's lawyers are hoping Robert Costello's testimony will help undermine the credibility of key prosecution witness Michael Cohen.

But Costello angered Judge Juan Merchan on Monday by making comments under his breath, rolling his eyes and calling the whole exercise "ridiculous," prompting the judge to briefly kick reporters out of the courtroom to admonish him.

The judge told Costello, a former federal prosecutor, he was being "contemptuous," adding, "If you try to stare me down one more time, I will remove you from the stand," according to a court transcript.

Costello did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday from The Associated Press.

The chaotic scene unfolded after prosecutors rested their case accusing Trump of falsifying business records as part of Cohen's scheme to bury stories that he feared could hurt his 2016 campaign. The criminal trial, the first of a former U.S. president, is in the final stretch, with closing arguments expected the Tuesday after Memorial Day.

The defense's calling of Costello to the stand was a source of discord for lawyers on both sides, with the prosecution arguing he should not be allowed to testify at all. The judge ultimately permitted the defense to question him about two allegedly inconsistent statements in Cohen's testimony and to "offer some rebuttal" to his testimony.

Costello, a former federal prosecutor in New York, is relevant to Trump's case due to his role as a Cohen antagonist and critic in the years since their professional relationship splintered.

Costello testified Monday that Cohen told him he did not have any incriminating information on Trump, while Costello's demeanor on the witness stand apparently angered Merchan, who cleared the courtroom to tell him, "Don't roll your eyes."

The attorney had offered to represent Cohen soon after the lawyer's hotel room, office, and home were raided by the FBI in 2018 and as he faced a decision about whether to remain defiant in the face of a criminal investigation or to cooperate with investigators in hopes of securing more lenient treatment.

Costello was invited last year to appear before the grand jury that indicted Trump after asserting that he had information that undermined Cohen's credibility.

Prosecutors rested their case Monday after star witness Cohen concluded his testimony. Cohen spent nearly four full days on the witness stand, placing the former president directly at the center of the alleged scheme to stifle negative stories to fend off damage to his White House bid.

Among other things, Cohen told jurors that Trump promised to reimburse him for the money he fronted and was regularly updated about efforts to silence women who alleged sexual encounters with him. Trump denies the women's claims.

A ruling on the defense's motion to dismiss the case might also come Tuesday, with the trial in its 20th day. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, the first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president and the first of four prosecutions of Trump to reach a jury.

Defense attorneys asked Judge Merchan to dismiss the case Monday after court adjourned for the day, arguing that prosecutors had failed to prove their case and there was no evidence of falsified business records or an intent to defraud.

Merchan did not indicate when exactly he would make a decision on the motion.

Closing arguments in Donald Trump's criminal trial could take place the day after Memorial Day.

Merchan said Monday that when the defense rests its case, he will send the jury home until closing arguments on the day after Memorial Day. Should that happen, jurors will spend a full week away from the trial.

Merchan cited scheduling issues in giving the May 28 date.

Information from The Associated Press and Reuters were used to compile this report.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

A defense witness in Donald Trump's legal expenses trial whom the judge threatened to remove from the trial over his behavior will return to the stand Tuesday as the trial nears its end.
donald trump, robert costello, defense, lawyer, michael cohen, judge, juan merchan
Tuesday, 21 May 2024 07:17 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.

Sign up for Newsmax’s Daily Newsletter

Receive breaking news and original analysis - sent right to your inbox.

(Optional for Local News)
Privacy: We never share your email address.
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.

Interest-Based Advertising | Do not sell or share my personal information

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Download the NewsmaxTV App
Get the NewsmaxTV App for iOS Get the NewsmaxTV App for Android Scan QR code to get the NewsmaxTV App
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved