Grand jury will not meet Wednesday as possible indictment in Trump's hush money probe looms
Published in Political News
NEW YORK — The grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s alleged hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels will not meet Wednesday, the Daily News has confirmed, as the waiting game for a possible criminal indictment against the former president continues.
The cancellation of the panel, which sources said typically meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, means the long-awaited decision on Trump’s possible indictment could be delayed to later this week or even into next week.
It was also unclear if additional witnesses would be called or if the grand jury would move directly to vote on a potential indictment when the panel does reconvene.
Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan will preside over the case if Trump is indicted, a source with direct knowledge told The News. Merchan presided over the Trump Organization’s trial and its finance chief Allen Weisselberg’s case.
Michael Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis said Trump’s former fixer, who issued the payment to Daniels, had not been asked to come back and did not know whether he might still be.
As anticipation over a possible indictment continued to build, the lower Manhattan courthouse was thronged with media waiting for a decision. The grand jury has been investigating hush money payments made to Daniels on the eve of Trump’s 2016 election as president, how Trump classified payback checks to his then-fixer Michael Cohen, and how he hid the transaction to conceal its purpose of influencing the election.
The potential criminal charges would mark the first ever brought against a former U.S. president.
Local and federal authorities are bracing for chaos to descend on the courthouse should an indictment happen after Trump on Saturday called for his supporters to “protest” his arrest. There is also heavy security around Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
The hush money deal with Daniels has long been public knowledge. Cohen detailed the entire scheme and Trump’s role in it during his 2018 federal case when he pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, among other crimes.
The former Trump lawyer notoriously referenced Trump in his plea as “Individual 1,” admitting that he issued the payment to Daniels “for the principal purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election.
Daniels’ $130,000 payoff came as the Trump campaign learned she was ready to go public with her allegations about sleeping with Trump in 2006 at a Lake Tahoe golf tournament, according to the federal case. Cohen took the money out through a home equity line of credit and had it wired to Daniels through an LLC.
Cohen said he further helped arrange for the National Enquirer’s publisher to pay $150,000 to Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said she slept with Trump between 2006 and 2007.
In the federal case, prosecutors said Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump and campaign officials to illegally pay Daniels to stay silent about the alleged sexual encounter to better his prospects of winning the presidency.
The feds said Trump and his company paid Cohen back for the hush money to Daniels in monthly reimbursement checks with interest, which were falsely classified as “legal expenses.”
While directly implicating him in their case, the feds ultimately declined to press charges against Trump, reportedly fearing the case would devolve into a political firestorm and pale in comparison to what he was accused of in the Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol.
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