Former President Donald Trump plans to return to the civil fraud trial against him and his company next week to watch the testimony of his former lawyer Michael Cohen, two sources confirmed.
While he is in New York, Trump is also expected to be deposed in a case involving former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who, like Cohen, he has repeatedly trashed in public.
Cohen is expected to take the stand in the $250 million civil fraud case against Trump and his company as early as Tuesday. His testimony is expected to take roughly two days.
“It’s been five years since we have seen one another. Assuming I am even on to testify next week, I look forward to the reunion. I hope Donald does, as well,” Cohen told NBC News, adding that Trump is “scared” and “petrified.”
It is expected that Trump will stay for testimony Tuesday and Wednesday, the two sources said, adding that his schedule is subject to change. The Messenger first reported Trump’s travel plans.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has said the probe that led to the $250 million lawsuit against Trump was sparked by Cohen’s testimony to Congress.
In 2019, Cohen told lawmakers about Trump’s business practices, saying “Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes” and “deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes” — conduct that James said prompted the investigation.
Previous congressional testimony by Cohen landed him in prison. He was sentenced in 2018 to three years in prison for what a federal judge in Manhattan called a “veritable smorgasbord” of criminal conduct, including lying to Congress about Trump’s business dealings with Russia and facilitating secret payments to women who claimed they had had affairs with Trump.
Trump faces criminal charges from the Manhattan district attorney’s office related to the hush-money payments, and Cohen is expected to be a witness in that trial, as well.
Trump has pleaded not guilty in the hush-money case and denied wrongdoing in the civil case. He has called Cohen a “rat” and made other disparaging remarks in recent years. Trump is expected to testify in the civil case in the coming weeks.
Tuesday is also when Trump is scheduled to be deposed in connection with a pair of lawsuits filed by his longtime targets Strzok and Page.
He is expected to answer questions for two hours. An attorney with knowledge of the situation said the deposition will take place in Manhattan after the fraud trial adjourns for the day.
Strzok alleges in his suit against the Justice Department that he was wrongfully terminated, while Page, who resigned as an FBI lawyer in May 2018, has argued privacy violations in relation to the public disclosures of her text messages with Strzok.
Both were involved in then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. They were removed from the probe after officials discovered text messages that criticized Trump, including a message that referred to him as “a loathsome human.”
Trump has repeatedly trashed them since then and claimed credit for Strzok’s being fired, although the Justice Department has denied Trump was responsible or involved in the decision to dismiss him.
Adam Reiss is a reporter and producer for NBC and MSNBC.
Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.