The news is all a flutter today with Trump ally, attorney Robert Costello being in NYC to testify before the Grand Jury that seems about to indict Trump.  Given the preparations for security that are being made, and despite all the stuff about Grand Jury secrecy it’s pretty clear the mood in the room is that Trump will in fact be indicted.  A helluva lot of time, effort and even money is being spent as I write this to think it’s all a “just in case” type of thing.  So Trump knows, and it’s been apparent from his rants it’s the case an indictment is coming.  Soon.

My first thought was that since Michael Cohen might be brought back as a rebuttal to Costello it could delay matters – perhaps into early next week.  However, I’ve rethought all that.  First, I have no doubt that the government lawyers laid out all the stuff regarding Cohen’s conviction and credibility at the start.  Also, it’s not like Cohen has been shy about his own actions.  When he was still on Team Trump.  And why he jumped ship.  When I’ve seen him on TV he’s been awfully frank, and I’m sure he was with the Grand Jury.  I also remember him saying that pretty much all of them asked him questions, and I’m willing to bet some of them went to the whole credibility thing.

So, in my mind the whole credibility issues is nothing but beating a dead horse.

On the Stormy Daniels matter, and I suspect other stuff Trump might be indicted for people need to remember that in defiance of Trump, Cohen kept records for years.  Written records and even recordings of conversations with Trump.  All of which is admissible in court.  Those searches of Cohen’s office and home back when he was still trying to stick up for Trump were a treasure trove.  Worse for Trump, Cohen realized he’d be cut loose and became a cooperating witness for the government.  He’s spent countless hours with prosecutors from the federal level on down through state and local ones going through evidence he’s privy to – and sometimes collected himself!

The bottom line is that Cohen has receipts.  Literally.

Written and electronic records of stuff, a little of which we already know and who knows how much else?  So, in the broad sense it doesn’t much matter what a juror (grand or petit) juror thinks of Cohen personally, they don’t have to take him at his word.  There is hard evidence making the government’s case much more than a “he said – he said” thing.

Which brings me to Costello’s trip to the Grand Jury room today.  On the face of it the line is that he’s there to trash Cohen’s credibility.  Frankly, I think that’s part of it and just the kind of thing Trump would order.  But I believe there’s more to it than that.

One of the things investigators, at least good ones keep in mind is that in gathering information from people, they can reveal as much as they learn.  So good investigators pay some mind when it comes to questions they ask, and evidence they ask for.  And when.  There does after all come a point when some questions can’t be avoided being asked of certain people, and the same applies to evidence.  It’s one of those legal battles on the latter that take place in courts every day.  Prosecutors want subpoenas to be as broad as possible in scope, and not just to gain more leads.  Often they are trying to conceal what they are actually targeted on.  Defense lawyers know this so they fight to if no quash a subpoena to narrow the scope as much as possible so they know exactly what it is they are going to have to defend.

Now keep in mind that while grand juries and even petit (trial) juries in some jurisdictions can ask questions.  Some do ask questions but I gather it’s not all that common.  Sometimes jurors, especially grand jurors take an active role in questioning witnesses.  However, these are regular folks and not experienced investigators.  Remember what I said about good investigators trying not to give away more information than they are trying to get?  This is definitely something worth considering.

It’s not like Trump doesn’t already know much of what’s going on.  Still, Costello is likely to be peppered with all manner of questions and my bet is that he’s  hoping to obtain more information about the government’s case.  Keep in mind the actual indictment when unsealed probably won’t lay everything out.  Even “speaking indictments” don’t go that far.  Prosecutors will of course have to provide discovery to the defense but not right away.  Anyway, I think Costello went before the grand jury to, even if Trump didn’t think of it to try and pick up some intel on the government’s case ahead of when Team Trump would normally get it.

There’s one more thing.  Again, these are regular folks.  Also, in a grand jury it doesn’t take a unanimous vote.  A majority of them voting to indict is all it takes.  Given the news this is an active grand jury that likes to ask their own questions I think it’s not only possible but likely that Costello is trying to get a sense of the room.  As in is pretty much everyone skeptical of him and Trump, or are there a significant number of them who might be swayed?  That’s something to consider as a case goes to trial.  If the whole room is loaded for bear then the only hope is to somehow find that one person who will hang a jury at trial.  That’s not a position a defendant wants to be in, and given he lived most of  his life in NYC and they know him finding that one person would be tougher than it would be say in Georgia!

In the end, even Costello knows the “trash Cohen” mission is a fool’s errand.  That’s why I think there is more to his going before the grand jury.  And not to buy another week’s worth of delay, but to gather intel on how a trial might go.

Just my 2 cents.

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  1. The problem for Costello is that he doesn’t get to ask any questions. He can make a statement, but then has to answer any questions posed. I seriously doubt he would be able to get any useful intel, but the prosecutors are probably getting a preview of TFG’s defense.

    • I like your pointing out that Costello could have given a preview of Trump’s defense, or at least how Trump wants his lawyers to defend him. We are a long ways from a trial and much could change, or his lawyers might convince Trump that he could be in worse trouble if they do what he asks. We all know he’s famous for overriding good legal advice but now he’s clearly running scared. His usual tactics aren’t working like they have in the past and many a “tough guy” defendant has had their asshole pucker up when a trial begins and the case is called by the bailiff – State of (whatever) or United States vs. and the defendant’s name. I’m told it’s a sobering experience, particularly for bullies who get too used to proverbially punching and don’t get hit themselves very often, much less by someone who can throw a serious punch.

      As to your other premise my own point is that (and yes, I’ve been on the investigation side of things asking the questions) one does in fact reveal a good deal when seeking evidence whether it’s asking questions or seeking records. HOW and when those things happen can make or break building an accurate picture of what happened. That’s my point. And the more I think about it the more important it might be for an actual lawyer of Trump’s to get a true sense of where the jurors are at this stage of things. THAT is something that if they peppered Costello with questions he’s sure to get. And that will be crucial in crafting a defense when this comes to trial – how the average person who’s heard evidence laid out perceives it.

  2. I am sure this guy’s motives are to help Trump, but he has to be careful not to contradict written or recorded evidence the prosecutors already have.


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