“Very strange development”: NY grand jury pivots to unrelated case, delaying potential Trump arrest

The Manhattan grand jury tasked with investigating former President Donald Trump’s role in hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels is not expected to take action Thursday, multiple outlets reported. 

The grand jury meeting was abruptly scrapped on Wednesday and while grand jurors are scheduled to meet on Thursday, they are expected to hear about another matter unrelated to Trump. This means there will be no grand jury testimony, deliberation, or vote on a potential indictment in the hush-money case for the remainder of this week, a source confirmed to Insider early Thursday. 

This is not uncommon: grand juries in New York often hear multiple cases at a time. Former prosecutors told the Wall Street Journal that grand jury schedules can be unpredictable as the panel has to juggle cases with competing demands and deadlines. 

Grand jurors were already informed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Wednesday that they would not be meeting, and would reconvene on Thursday instead. Since they are not expected to make a decision regarding this specific case on Thursday, and the grand jury does not typically meet on Fridays, there will likely be no action until Monday at the earliest. 

Trump is currently being investigated for allegedly falsifying business records to hide payments to Daniels. Prosecutors say the payment was made before the 2016 election in an attempt to keep her from divulging details of the affair. Trump has denied the affair and has maintained that he did not engage in criminal activity. 

Most of the evidence and testimony in the case has already been presented to the grand jury, but as WSJ notes, it is possible that Bragg has an additional witness to dispute the testimony given by Robert Costello, a lawyer who spoke at the request of Trump’s legal team.

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Costello claimed that the grand jury should not trust former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who testified that he made a $130,000 payment to Daniels and was reimbursed by Trump, because he is an unreliable witness who has given conflicting testimony about the hush-money agreement. 

The grand jury is expected to reconvene on Monday to consider Trump’s case, where at least one additional witness may be called to testify, sources told CNN and ABC News. 

Former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman wrote on Twitter that the shift suggests “some last minute jitters on Bragg’s part.”

“I don’t think that would be about the possibility the [grand jury] would not return an indictment but rather that the case as indicted wouldn’t be strong enough,” he wrote. “Very strange development.”

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