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Trump hush-money grand jury unlikely to consider case again this week -source

2023-03-28T22:34:32Z

Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on education as he holds a campaign rally with supporters, in Davenport, Iowa, U.S. March 13, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The New York grand jury hearing evidence about former President Donald Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star is not expected to meet on Wednesday and is unlikely to consider the case again this week, a law enforcement source said.

It is unclear when the grand jury would take up the matter again, said the source, who was granted anonymity to discuss secret grand jury proceedings.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has been presenting evidence since January to the grand jury about possible crimes related to a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. The payment was made in exchange for Daniels’ silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump she said she had a decade earlier.

If indicted, Trump would become the first U.S. president to face a criminal charge in court.

A former National Enquirer publisher testified for the second time before the panel on Monday, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The publisher, David Pecker, had offered to help Trump in the run-up to the November 2016 election by buying rights to unflattering stories and not publishing them, a practice known as “catch and kill.”

In the case of Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, her agent told the editor in October 2016 that she was willing to go public about the alleged sexual encounter she said she had with Trump.

Pecker and the editor contacted then-Trump attorney Michael Cohen and connected him with an attorney for Daniels. Cohen then negotiated the $130,000 agreement.

Federal prosecutors have said Cohen made the payment at Trump’s direction.

Trump has denied an affair took place, and lawyer Robert Costello, who met with Cohen in 2018, has said Cohen told him he acted alone.

Costello testified before the grand jury last week. Cohen, who testified the previous week, pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal charges stemming from the payoff and went to prison for the campaign finance violation, among other crimes.

Trump falsely claimed on March 18 that he would be arrested in the case last Tuesday, has repeatedly attacked Bragg, and warned of potential “death and destruction” if he faces criminal charges.

Trump faces several other criminal investigations, including one tied to the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. He continues to claim falsely that his 2020 defeat was the result of fraud.

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