Mystery surrounds possible Trump indictment
Former President Trump set off a frenzy a few days ago when he declared – without any official word – that he would be arrested on Tuesday, but the case against him in Manhattan has yet to turn up an indictment, lending an air of mystery to if and when the former president will be charged.
Reports emerged earlier Wednesday that the grand jury hearing evidence in the probe would not convene on Wednesday, meaning an indictment won’t come until Thursday at the earliest.
Fox News reported that at least one more witness was expected to appear on Wednesday before the grand jury, which is hearing evidence about a 2016 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, before that meeting was canceled.
On Thursday, multiple news outlets reported that the grand jury was not expected to hear the Trump case, delaying a possible indictment of the former president until Monday.
Although Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) has taken a series of steps in recent days that suggest he is likely to soon seek an indictment, no official word has emerged on that possibility from his office.
“I’m a little confused by all the speculation about why the Manhattan DA’s indictment is delayed,” tweeted Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. “He never said he would indict today, or at all, so there is no delay. For such a high-profile case, they’ll want to get it right. They’ll move if and when ready, not a moment before.”
Trump in a Truth Social post on Saturday suggested he would be arrested on Tuesday, though his aides later clarified the former president had not been given any advance notice and was just speculating based on media reports.
Trump himself hasn’t mentioned his potential arrest since his Truth Social post early Saturday. And while he’s railed against the case, including attacking Bragg, in several social media updates, his posts in recent days have veered from touting an upcoming rally in Texas to promoting a new book while also taking shots at potential 2024 contender Ron DeSantis.
But Saturday’s post, paired with multiple reports that an indictment could be imminent, created a sense of anticipation that Trump could be charged early this week, making him the first former president in U.S. history to face an indictment.
In lower Manhattan, authorities set up metal barriers and prepared for the possibility of demonstrations. In Florida, the subject loomed over a retreat for House Republicans and on the campaign front, potential 2024 presidential candidates were asked about the possibility of Trump surrendering in New York.
The grand jury tends to meet on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, meaning if there is no vote on an indictment on Thursday, the matter could stretch into next week.
When no indictment was announced Tuesday or early Wednesday, Trump suggested Bragg may have changed his mind entirely.
But the secret nature of the grand jury proceedings leaves a number of potential reasons for the waiting game.
“It could be in the DA’s office, or the grand jury, or Trump could be trying to do something – or none of the above,” said Alan Morrison, a law professor at George Washington University.
Despite the mystery, Bragg’s office has recently taken a series of steps suggesting they could soon seek an indictment.
Prosecutors last week brought in before the jurors Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer who made the $130,000 hush payment before receiving reimbursement from Trump. Cohen is expected to play a major role in any future trial.
The jury on Monday heard from Robert Costello, a former legal adviser to Cohen, who sought to rebut his testimony at the request of Trump’s lawyers. New York law allows a person whom a criminal charge is about to be brought to request a witness appear before their grand jury.
Prosecutors also invited Trump himself to appear if he wanted, another sign they were nearing a final charging decision.
But Bragg still retains the option to bring in additional witnesses or present new information before seeking an indictment.
Clark Brewster, Stormy Daniels’s lawyer, told CNN on Tuesday that communications between the adult film actress and Joe Tacopina, who represents Trump, had been turned over to the district attorney’s office.
It purportedly includes communications showing Daniels seeking representation in 2018 and discussing confidential information about her situation with Tacopina, which would raise questions about his ability to now represent the former president in the investigation.
Brewster did not return multiple messages seeking comment.
–Updated on March 23 at 11:03 a.m.
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