(Update from Reuters)
Former President Donald Trump appeared unlikely to face criminal charges on Wednesday after a law enforcement source said a grand jury investigating alleged illegal hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels would not meet again before Thursday.
The grand jury, a panel of U.S. citizens residing in Manhattan, has been considering the evidence in one of many legal probes swirling around Trump as he mounts a comeback bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
The grand jury was told to stay home on Wednesday, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the secret proceedings. It was unclear how much longer the grand jury would meet and uncertain whether it would indict Trump.
The panel, which is believed to meet three times a week, could reconvene as soon as Thursday. The Insider news outlet first reported the news that the grand jury would not convene on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined when asked to comment on the grand jury.
Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters
TRUMP INDICTMENT FROM MANHATTAN DA WAS RUMORED FOR WEDNESDAY
Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Former President Donald Trump’s seemingly never-ending legal struggles grew another degree more difficult Tuesday.
Although he was not arrested yesterday in connection to an investigation launched by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, there are multiple reports that the grand jury may wrap up today leading to an indictment.
To make matters worse for Trump, news leaked yesterday that charges might be forthcoming in his federal classified documents case.
As first reported by ABC News Tuesday night, U.S. Judge Beryl Howell, prior to stepping down as chief judge of the D.C. district court, wrote that special counsel Jack Smith’s office had made a “prima facie showing that the former president had committed criminal violations.”
This finding means that Trump attorney Evan Corcoran, who has until now avoided testifying before a federal grand jury on attorney-client privilege grounds, will be subject to questioning.
Howell has also ordered Corcoran to surrender numerous documents he had also withheld under attorney-client privilege.
“Howell found that prosecutors showed ‘sufficient’ evidence that Trump ‘intentionally concealed’ the existence of additional classified documents from Corcoran, sources said, putting Corcoran in an unwitting position to deceive the government,” ABC News reported.
“Shame on Fake News ABC for broadcasting ILLEGALLY LEAKED false allegations from a Never Trump, now former chief judge, against the Trump legal team,” the Trump camp said in response to the Tuesday report.
The response was curt, likely owing to Trump’s greater focus on an ongoing investigation by Bragg’s office into allegations that a former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 in 2016 to keep quiet about an extramarital encounter with Trump.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Bragg could be poised to file charges using Cohen’s testimony as a key cog in his prosecution.
“Reports, and almost everybody, says, even after in-depth legal study and review, that there was no crime, no affair, no bookkeeping error or misdemeanor, no “nothing,” other than now proven lies by Michael Cohen, a convicted felon and perjurer, and the strong likelihood of an extortion plot against me,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.
Cohen was convicted of tax evasion and campaign finance violations, leading to a 3-year prison sentence.
Monday, Robert Costello, an attorney who once represented Cohen, appeared before a New York grand jury at Bragg’s request. During his testimony, Costello labeled Cohen as the epitome of a troublesome witness.
“He’s totally unreliable,” Costello said outside the Manhattan courthouse, according to NBC New York. “You think a guy whose mindset right at that moment is, ‘I’ll lie, cheat, steal, shoot somebody — whatever it takes, I’m not going to jail.’ Well, he went to jail. And now he’s on the revenge tour.”
RHETORIC CONTINUES TO INTENSIFY
There are few people less popular with the right at the moment than Bragg, who has faced a torrent of criticism from conservatives for his handling of the case and for pursuing the case at all.
“Multiple prosecutors passed on this ‘case’ because they knew it was a sham,” New York Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik wrote on Truth Social. “Soros-funded radical Alvin Bragg is shamelessly advancing a witch hunt purely for political purposes. He should testify before Congress under oath.”
Republicans in the House, led by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, are pushing to have Bragg do just that, but the idea of having a D.A. defend their prosecutorial decisions in Congress is not universally popular on the right. Many Senate Republicans have said they are largely against the idea.
“I think you’ve got to fall short of getting involved in the legal process,” Sen. Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), told Axios. “I think there is a legitimate question to ask about why are we here.”
However, Trump has his backers in the upper chamber, too.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) have both indicated support for the House investigating at least the concert of the politicization of law enforcement.
But it was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul who was most vociferous in his remarks, tweeting, “A Trump indictment would be a disgusting abuse of power. The DA should be put in jail.”
Bragg has been mostly silent during the investigation, but said in a statement that he and his office would “not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process.”