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The Trump grand jury is taking a weekslong break, clouding when potential charges could be filed against the former president

Donald Trump.Former President Donald Trump.

Andrew Harnik/AP

  • The Trump grand jury in Manhattan won’t hear about the case for a month, according to Politico.
  • The break upends expectations about when an indictment might be filed. 
  • It’s also possible that jurors voted to indict the ex-president, but the DA’s office is slow-walking charges.

The Manhattan grand jury that will decide whether to indict former president Donald Trump over allegations surrounding a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels is taking a break for several weeks from hearing the case, Politico reported on Wednesday

Two weeks of the hiatus were previously scheduled when the grand jury was first convened by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg earlier this year, a person familiar with the proceedings told Politico.

For another roughly two weeks, grand jurors — who normally sit on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons — are expected to hear evidence from unrelated cases and take days off for the upcoming Passover holiday, according to Politico. The New York Post also reported on the break.

The planned time-off clouds when a potential indictment against Trump could be filed. 

The Manhattan district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider. Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina told Insider he hadn’t heard from the DA’s office about any break.

Bragg convened the grand jury to probe whether to bring charges against Trump over his alleged role in paying Daniels $130,000 in the days before the 2016 election to keep quiet about an alleged affair with the porn star.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and derided Bragg’s investigation as a “witch hunt.”

Former prosecutors previously told Insider that the district attorney does have the power to slow-walk the indictment and that the grand jury may have already voted.

Grand jury activity has slowed down in the Trump probe

The grand jury investigation has already taken longer than expected. The Manhattan district attorney’s office spent years investigating Trump’s finances and won convictions for tax crimes last year against the Trump Organization and executive Allen Weisselberg. Earlier this year, it convened the grand jury to hear the hush-money case, which appears to be smaller in scope than the possible financial crimes prosecutors had previously examined.

Michael Cohen, who facilitated the payments to Daniels ahead of the 2016 election and pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the scheme in 2018, testified for grand jurors earlier in March. After Cohen’s testimony, Bragg’s office extended an offer for Trump to testify, indicating it was nearly finished presenting evidence to the grand jury.

Trump’s attorneys sent Robert Costello, an attorney who told grand jurors on March 20 that Cohen was a liar and couldn’t be trusted.

Since then, the grand jury has moved in fits and starts. It took breaks and heard from other cases over the following week. Cohen hadn’t been called back as a rebuttal witness, his lawyer Lanny Davis said following Costello’s testimony.

Michael CohenMichael Cohen, center, is surrounded by reporters as he arrives for grand jury testimony in March.

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

For Monday’s grand jury session, Bragg’s office brought David Pecker, a former media executive who participated in a plot to buy the rights to Daniels’s story and keep it under lock and key. Pecker had testified earlier in the case and was brought back to testify again.

It’s also possible that grand jurors already voted on Monday whether to bring charges against Trump, and its future sessions have no bearing on the ex-president’s future.

Former prosecutors told Insider that Bragg’s office may have obtained indictments from the grand jury but chosen not to file them as they continue to consider logistics and security arrangements for the case.

Trump, for his part, has used the delays to proclaim his innocence. He previously said, without any basis, that he would be arrested on March 21 — a day that passed without incident.

In a post on his Truth Social platform on Wednesday, he praised the grand jury, which operates in secret.

“I HAVE GAINED SUCH RESPECT FOR THIS GRAND JURY, & PERHAPS EVEN THE GRAND JURY SYSTEM AS A WHOLE,” he wrote in all-caps. “THE EVIDENCE IS SO OVERWHELMING IN MY FAVOR, & SO RIDICULOUSLY BAD FOR THE HIGHLY PARTISAN & HATEFUL DISTRICT ATTORNEY.”

Read the original article on Business Insider
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