A familiar legal pattern emerged in Manhattan this week. It likely foreshadows an indictment in the case against former President Donald Trump, according to a former U.S. prosecutor.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office began presenting evidence earlier this week before a grand jury. The evidence pertained to an alleged hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign. This kind of presentation typically comes before an indictment, William “Widge” Devaney, former assistant U.S. attorney in the District of New Jersey, told the Washington Examiner.
“I don’t think Alvin Bragg would have picked up this investigation unless he intended to move toward an indictment. My sense of kind of why he might be taking these steps at this point in time is that perhaps he’s feeling a little lift under his wings,” Devaney said. “It sort of seems like this is the time when the various legal issues with respect to the former president are congealing.”
A mounting storm of legal woes against Trump has buoyed Bragg’s inquiry, Devaney theorized.
Last year, Bragg’s team locked down a guilty plea against Allen Weisselberg, who served as the longtime chief financial officer at the Trump Organization. Then, in September, the New York Attorney General’s Office unveiled a $250 million civil lawsuit against Trump. In November, special counsel Robert Hur was named to spearhead the Justice Department’s review of Jan. 6 and the Mar-a-Lago classified document situation. And last month, Fulton County’s grand jury work in Georgia concluded.
For months, Bragg’s investigation, which began under his predecessor, Cyrus Vance, in 2018, seemed as though it was on its last legs.
Last February, two prosecutors in the office resigned from the inquiry over frustrations that Bragg was too timid to cross Trump. One of those lawyers, Mark Pomerantz, is set to publish details of his gripes with the inquiry on Feb. 7 amid concerns from Bragg’s office.
Later in April, Bragg was reportedly poised to let the grand jury aiding his investigation expire. At the time, the inquiry was believed to have centered on potential criminal wrongdoing revolving around Trump’s business empire. Then, suddenly last fall, reports surfaced that new life was breathed into the inquiry and prosecutors were zeroing in on the alleged hush money payments, which is thought to have been the original line of inquiry.
“In this circumstance, I don’t think Alvin Bragg would have convened the grand jury without the intent to move toward an indictment with Trump,” Devaney said.
Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, allegedly paid Daniels $130,000 during the 2016 campaign to sign a nondisclosure agreement and stay quiet about an affair she allegedly had with Trump. Cohen later pleaded guilty to charges over the alleged payment, which exceeded federal limits on campaign contributions. Cohen reportedly received multiple checks from Trump as reimbursement for the payment.
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Author: RTM Staff
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