Costello claims Trump hush money judge 'totally overreacted' to his testimony

Robert Costello, a former legal adviser to ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen, said the judge in former President Trump’s hush money trial “totally overreacted” while admonishing him for his courtroom behavior during his testimony.

Costello pointed out several instances he believes Judge Juan Merchan targeted him during his time in the Manhattan courtroom. One instance involved the judge allegedly accusing the witness of trying to stare him down.

“I guess I muttered … ‘Jeez’ … That’s all I did. The judge then went on a rant … I had to turn to my right to look at him,” Costello told hosts John Catsimatidis and Rita Cosby Friday on the “Cats and Cosby Show.” “That’s what you normally do when somebody’s speaking to you.”

He continued, “He immediately said, ‘Are you trying to stare me down?’… [I said], ‘No. Can I explain?’ And he said, ‘No. This is not a discussion.'”

Costello added that the judge also alleged that he rolled his eyes — which he argued, Merchan wouldn’t have been able to see.

“A: I don’t believe I was. B: If I was, he couldn’t possibly have seen it because he’s behind me and to my right, and I was looking to my left to the jury box,” the witness said Friday.

Merchan, at one point, had the jurors exit the courtroom so he could admonish Costello over his decorum the stand.

His recap of the scene came one day after Trump was convicted on all 34 charges of falsifying business records in his Manhattan hush money case. The case was related to a payment made to an adult film actress in the early days of the 2016 election to cover up an alleged affair, which the former president has denied.

Costello said he expected a hung jury but was “fooled.”

“I gave them more credit than they deserved … Judge Merchan helped them along that road [to a conviction] with his charge, which was absolutely absurd,” he said.

Asked by Cosby what he thought of Merchan, Costello said he thinks the judge’s treatment of him was related to his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee the prior to the onset of the Trump trial. During the committee hearing, he asked why Merchan was involved in so many trials related to Trump.

“My guess is that he saw that, and he was probably irritated at me for having said that, and he was waiting for an opportunity, and he took it,” Costello said. “But he totally overreacted.”

The co-host suggested that the Trump defense team decided not to bring forward any additional witnesses after seeing how Merchan acted towards Costello, the sole defense witness.

“It was an unfortunate experience brought on by a judge with thin skin, totally overreacting,” the former Cohen adviser said. “But maybe he did that on purpose, because no rational judge would have engaged in behavior like that.”

He added, “I’ve been a lawyer for a long time […] I have never had a judge attempt to chastise me like that, and say, ‘Your behavior is contemptuous,’ especially since he was making up two-thirds of the allegations.”

The judge has set Trump’s sentencing hearing for July 11, just four days before the Republican National Convention — where he will be formally nominated as the GOP presidential nominee. The former president is expected to appeal the conviction.

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