Crime & Justice

Grand jury deciding whether to accuse Trump to take 1-month break

New York, Mar 29 (EFE).- The grand jury that must decide whether to recommend that charges be brought against ex-President Donald Trump for allegedly paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels to buy her silence regarding an affair will take a month-long recess, several US media outlets reported on Wednesday.

The recess for the grand jury – an entity that examines several cases at the same time and decides whether there is a legal basis for a trial – comes according to a previously established schedule, reported the Web site, and supposedly no decision has yet been made regarding the case involving Trump.

Some ex-prosecutors say, however, that the grand jury may have voted on Monday but Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is holding back, for the time being, on issuing an indictment.

In fact, the grand jury is scheduled to meet on Thursday, but to deal with a different case, and starting after it concludes its business on that day the recess will commence to coincide with the Easter holidays, during which many Americans take short vacations.

The final decision on whether – and when – to make an indictment aftera grand jury’s recommendation is up to Bragg, who also has the authority to change the grand jury’s schedule.

A grand jury does not usually officially communicate its program to the public or discuss the cases it’s examining, but recent leaks to some media outlets have revealed that last Monday it did consider the Trump case with another round of testimony from David Pecker.

Pecker, the former owner of The National Enquirer, was allegedly called to testify again to explain what he knew about the $130,000 payment to Daniels made by Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen, since presumably he advised the then-presidential candidate that Daniels was thinking about making public information about her alleged sexual liaison with Trump and was seeking a media outlet that was willing to do so.

With this recess, the attention that has recently been focused on the grand jury by news outlets and the public will presumably diminish after a 10-day period during which Trump has claimed that the 23-member body were going to decide to charge him and he would be arrested, a situation that ultimately did not happen.

And although that statement by Trump caused numerous media outlets to flock to the doors of the courthouse where the grand jury was meeting, in recent days the number of reporters there has fallen off, along with the groups of people outside the courthouse demonstrating both for and against the former president.

Trump’s attorneys have said that they expect their client to be charged with multiple counts of falsifying business records – a low-level state felony – to hide the hush money payment made just days before the 2016 presidential election, which he won.

Federal prosecutors have said that the payment was an illegal campaign contribution designed to prevent voters from learning Daniels’ side of the story that she had an illicit affair with Trump in 2006.

Trump, however, has consistently denied any wrongdoing and has said he never had a sexual encounter with Daniels.

EFE –/bp

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