Damning emails expose a pressure campaign against Michael Cohen by Donald Trump’s inner circle

Damning emails expose a pressure campaign against Michael Cohen by Donald Trump's inner circle

Jurors in Donald Trump’s hush money trial have received a series of incriminating emails allegedly showing Rudy Giuliani-linked attorney Robert Costello pushing Michael Cohen to remain silent about the former president while his one-time “fixer” was under federal investigation.

After federal agents raided Cohen’s office and home and seized his phones in April 2018, Mr Costello suggested that Cohen retain him as counsel, which Cohen previously testified was part of a “pressure campaign” to keep him close to Mr Trump and prevent him from “flipping” against him.

On Tuesday, after Mr Costello was nearly thrown from the witness stand only 24 hours before, emails handed to the court in Manhattan showed him urging Cohen to “get on the same page” and reminding him that he has “friends in high places.”

On June 22, 2018, two months before Cohen agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors, Mr Costello contacted his associate to say that Cohen “continues to slow play us and the president.”

“Is he totally nuts?” Mr. Costello wrote. “What do I say to this a******? “He’s playing with the world’s most powerful man.”

“That email certainly speaks for itself, doesn’t it, Mr Costello?” asked Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger.

“Yes, it does,” Mr Costello answered.

Mr Donald Trump’s charged with 34 counts of fabricating business records for a sequence of invoices and checks issued to Cohen in 2017 to compensate him for a hush money payment to Stormy Daniels in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

Prosecutors argue that Mr Trump illegally concealed potentially politically harmful material about his affairs in order to increase his prospects of winning.

He’s pled not guilty.

Cohen, who was then-President Trump’s personal attorney during the inquiry, testified, and emails produced in court indicate Mr Costello attempting to build a “back channel” of communication with Mr Trump through Mr Giuliani.

Cohen detailed what he believed to be Mr. Costello’s “sketchy” attempts to coerce him into serving in his capacity last week in his testimony.

Cohen stated last week that this was a part of the pressure campaign to “stay in the fold, do not speak out, and do not listen to what the journalists or anyone else is saying. Everyone is lying to you, and the president still supports you.” “Refrain from flipping and cooperate.”

He claimed Cohen didn’t trust him, but he was still “loyal to Mr. Trump.”

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A courtroom sketch depicts Assistant District Attorney Susan Hoffinger questioning Robert Costello on May 21 as Donald Trump’s and Justice Juan Merchan look on. (REUTERS)

Cohen claimed to have to a conclusion after talking with his family and feeling obligated to his wife, kids, and “the country”: “I made a decision that I would not lie for President Trump any longer.”

In August 2018, he ultimately entered a guilty plea to charges of tax evasion, lying before Congress, and violating campaign finance laws.

Mr. Costello stated in his deposition that he never put Cohen under any duress and that he simply looked out for his interests as a client, not looking to represent him.

He asserted on Tuesday that his only goal was “getting everyone on the same page because, quite frankly, Cohen had been complaining nonstop that Giuliani was making statements in the press that Cohen didn’t approve of.”

“I was pushing Michael Cohen to voice any grievances he may have so I could take them to Giuliani and resolve them if that was the case,” he stated.

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WSJ.com , Yahoo finance and REUTERS

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