What to know about a possible Trump indictment
- Former President Donald Trump faces possible criminal charges in New York relating to a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
- Trump maintains he has committed no crime and has accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of being motivated by politics.
- The case is focused on allegations that Trump falsified business records. Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer and fixer, testified before the grand jury Monday.
- The grand jury was scheduled to meet yesterday, but members were then told instead to return today. Sources said the panel is likely to consider unrelated cases today.
Graphic: How criminal cases progress in Manhattan
A grand jury indictment would be just the beginning for Trump.
In New York, a grand jury hearing is the first step in what can become a lengthy process. The jury must decide whether there is “probable cause” to believe someone committed a crime. If it does, it sets in motion a sequence of events that typically culminate at trial, though there are potential outs along the way.
See the general criminal case process in the diagram below.
Is the Trump case before a special grand jury?
Much about grand jury procedures — including the nature of the type of grand jury being used — is kept secret during the process.
In some cases, prosecutors use special investigative grand juries dedicated to one case. They are often used in complex cases, and their term can run up to six months.
In New York, however, especially given the large volume of cases, there are times when prosecutors use a special grand jury to hear multiple cases (even unrelated ones) at the same time. The prosecutors within the district attorney’s office coordinate schedules accordingly depending on their needs.
Regular grand juries hear multiple cases at one time, but they are empaneled for only 30 days at a time. Special grand juries last longer.
In both scenarios, the jury is made up of 23 residents of Manhattan chosen at random.
The special grand jury hearing testimony in the Trump investigation in Manhattan has been meeting Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they will hear evidence in the Trump probe on each of those days — hence what happened today, when the jury convened but didn't consider the Trump hush money case. It remains unclear what additional matter(s) they are hearing at this time.
Trump tries to capitalize on perceived delay of grand jury
Trump said that Bragg's office is in "total disarray" after NBC News and other outlets reported that the Manhattan grand jury would not consider the case involving him today.
"Tremendous dissension and chaos because they have NO CASE, and many of the honest people in the Office know it, and want to do the right thing," Trump said in a statement today.
The grand jury doesn’t have a known deadline, at this point. Legal analysts and others with knowledge of how such processes usually unfold had pointed to Bragg’s invitation to Trump to appear before the panel earlier this month as a sign that the investigation was nearing an end and that an indictment could come in the near future.
Trump himself created a timeline by suggesting over the weekend that he would be arrested Tuesday — which did not happen.
Judge in separate Trump case refers to his attacks on jurors and lawyers
A federal judge set to hear a defamation trial against Trump next month has decided to use an anonymous jury — noting Trump’s history of “attack[ing] courts, judges, various law enforcement officials and other public officials, and even individual jurors in other matters.”
“If jurors’ identities were disclosed, there would be a strong likelihood of unwanted media attention to the jurors, influence attempts, and/or of harassment or worse of jurors by supporters of Mr. Trump,” Judge Lewis Kaplan writes.
Kaplan also mentions in passing (though he doesn’t express a view about) Trump’s recent call for “protest” given the Manhattan DA’s investigation and possible indictment in the hush money case.
Trump calls for removal of Manhattan DA, Fulton County DA, special counsel
In a post on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump leveled a new round of insults and called for the removal of the officials behind the various criminal cases facing him, including Bragg; Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis; New York Attorney General Letitia James; and special counsel Jack Smith.
He called Bragg "a danger to our Country," described Smith as a "Radical Lunatic Bombthrower," and said Willis is trying to make his 2020 phone calls to Georgia officials into a "plot to destroy America."
In a separate post, he said Bragg is "doing the work of Anarchists and the Devil, who want our Country to fail."
Trump at golf course with actor Jon Voight today
Trump appears to be out on the links with actor Jon Voight today.
The former president posted a video on Truth Social of Voight, a longtime supporter, hitting a golf ball under sunny skies at Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida.
"The great Jon Voight hitting golf balls, for the first time in 30 years," Trump wrote.
Special grand jury vs. grand jury
In some cases, prosecutors use special investigative grand juries dedicated to one case. They are often used in complex cases and their term runs for six months. Regular grand juries hear multiple cases at one time and they sit for 30 days. In both scenarios, the jury is made up of 23 residents of Manhattan chosen at random.
The panel hearing testimony in the Trump investigation in Manhattan has been meeting Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and was believed to be a special investigative grand jury. But it remains unclear whether its members are hearing more than one Trump-related matter, or other cases.
Bragg's office pushes back on House GOP requests for information about Trump probe
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office sent a lengthy letter today to three House GOP committee chairmen arguing that they are overstepping their bounds in their quest to obtain information related to the hush money case involving Trump.
General counsel Leslie B. Dubeck, writing on behalf of Bragg, said in the letter that the Republican chairmen are embarking on an unprecedented inquiry "into pending local prosecution."
In response to a letter the GOP chairmen sent to Bragg earlier this week seeking information about the Trump case and federal funding the DA's office receives, she said their "requests are an unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty."
"The letter seeks non-public information about a pending criminal investigation, which is confidential under state law," Dubeck wrote, adding that "it is clear that Congress cannot have any legitimate legislative task relating to the oversight of local prosecutors enforcing state law."
She said that Bragg's office will not allow the congressional investigation to impede New York from "the exercise of New York’s sovereign police power," but also said they will prepare a letter describing its use of federal funds.
In addition, Bragg's office wants an opportunity to meet with committee staff "to better understand what information the DA’s Office can provide that relates to a legitimate legislative interest and can be shared consistent with the District Attorney’s constitutional obligations."
Dubeck made clear that if charges are brought against Trump, "it will be because the rule of law and faithful execution of the district attorney’s duty require it."
House Judiciary chair requests documents and testimony from former prosecutors in DA's office
The chair of the House Judiciary Committee is calling on former prosecutors Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, who investigated Trump before leaving the Manhattan District Attorney's Office last year, to provide documents and testimony to the GOP-led panel.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio asked the former prosecutors to provide documents dating back to January 2017 and any communications in their possession between the office and federal law enforcement agencies related to the DA’s investigation of Trump.
“Your actions, both as a special prosecutor and since leaving the District Attorney’s office, cast serious doubt on the administration of fair and impartial justice in this matter,” Jordan wrote in his letters to the former prosecutors.
He referred to the former prosecutors' resignations last year, which they said was due to Bragg's reluctance to bring charges against Trump, and a new book by Pomerantz.
N.Y. grand jury unlikely to consider hush money case for the rest of the week
The Manhattan grand jury that has been investigating the hush money case involving Trump is not expected to consider it today, NBC News has confirmed.
The grand jury was set to return to court in lower Manhattan on Thursday, but it is expected to meet about a different case, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
The delay was first reported by Business Insider.
Members of the jury have been meeting Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told them to stay home yesterday.
The developments come as the grand jury seems to be nearing a vote on a possible indictment of the former president in the hush money case.
In special counsel case, Trump lawyer Corcoran spotted at courthouse
Evan Corcoran was spotted at the federal courthouse in Washington, this morning for a closed-door hearing before Chief Judge James “Jeb” Boasberg, who just took over the top spot on the D.C. circuit. The hearing may be related to a subpoena issued by special counsel Jack Smith for testimony from former Vice President Mike Pence.
Trump calls Bragg a 'SOROS BACKED ANIMAL'
The former president lashed out against the Manhattan district attorney on his Truth Social account, calling Bragg a "A SOROS BACKED ANIMAL WHO JUST DOESN’T CARE ABOUT RIGHT OR WRONG NO MATTER HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE HURT," a reference to liberal megadonor George Soros, who supported Bragg’s campaign for DA through the Color of Change PAC.
"WHY WON’T BRAGG DROP THIS CASE? EVERYBODY SAYS THERE IS NO CRIME HERE. I DID NOTHING WRONG! IT WAS ALL MADE UP BY A CONVICTED NUT JOB WITH ZERO CREDIBILITY, WHO HAS BEEN DISPUTED BY HIGHLY RESPECTED PROFESSIONALS AT EVERY TURN," Trump said, referring to Cohen, his former attorney.
Trump added, "THIS IS NO LEGAL SYSTEM, THIS IS THE GESTAPO, THIS IS RUSSIA AND CHINA, BUT WORSE. DISGRACEFUL!"
Why Biden’s not talking about Trump’s potential indictment
So far this week, President Joe Biden has announced new steps to conserve land and water. He met with the cast of “Ted Lasso” to discuss mental health and released a 500-page report on the economy.
Missing has been any acknowledgment of the drama that has transfixed much of Washington: the possible criminal indictment of his past and potentially future rival, Donald Trump.
There’s no blueprint for what a president should do when a predecessor is charged with a crime — something that’s never happened in the nation’s history. Biden’s approach, for now, has been to keep silent and avoid a scrum that threatens to pull him in, Democratic strategists and people close to the White House said.
Judge applies 'crime fraud' exception in Trump's other legal inquiry
The case being investigated by the Manhattan district attorney isn't the only one progressing against Trump.
In the investigation into classified documents that were found at Trump's Florida residence, special counsel Jack Smith’s office presented sufficient evidence to establish that the former president committed a crime through his attorneys, a U.S. district judge ruled Friday night, a source briefed on the proceedings confirmed to NBC News.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, based in Washington, D.C., didn't rule on whether Trump was guilty of a crime.
Howell ruled in favor of applying the “crime fraud” exception, which would let prosecutors compel Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify.
Grand jury set to return today
The grand jury is scheduled to return today — opening the possibility that prosecutors could ask the panel to vote on a Trump indictment.