The Manhattan grand jury weighing an indictment against former President Donald Trump will reportedly not meet again until late April, delaying any potential charges.
A source close to the matter told POLITICO that the grand jury investigating the alleged hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels isn’t expected to hear evidence in the case for the next month largely due to a previously scheduled hiatus.
However, District Attorney Alvin Bragg can adjust the schedule and ask the grand jury to reconvene if prosecutors want the panel to meet during previously planned breaks.
The grand jury, which heard testimony in the Trump case on Monday, isn’t meeting Wednesday and is expected to examine evidence in a separate matter Thursday, the person said. The grand jury, which typically meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, is scheduled to consider another case next week on Monday and Wednesday, the person said, and isn’t expected to meet Thursday due to the Passover holiday.
The following two weeks are set to be a hiatus that was scheduled when the grand jury was first convened in January, the person said.
Prosecutors are expected to charge Trump with a felony by arguing that the alleged crime was committed to hide an illegal campaign contribution. The potential problem for Trump centers around how his company reimbursed former attorney Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to related charges and served time in prison.
The payment to Daniels was listed as a legal expense and Trump’s company cited a retainer agreement with Cohen. The retainer agreement did not exist and the reimbursement was not related to any legal services from Cohen, thus setting up a potential misdemeanor criminal charge of falsifying business records. A report by NBC News said that Trump personally signed several of the checks to Cohen while he was serving as president.
Prosecutors can elevate the misdemeanor to a felony if they can prove that Trump’s “‘intent to defraud’ included an intent to commit or conceal a second crime.”
Prosecutors argue that the second crime is that the $130,000 hush payment was an improper donation to the Trump campaign because the money was used to stop a story to benefit his presidential campaign.