(NEW YORK) — A grand jury is continuing to weigh charges against former President Donald Trump in connection with the Manhattan district attorney’s probe into the 2016 hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
No current or former president has ever been indicted for criminal conduct.
Here is how the news is developing. All times Eastern. Check back for updates:
Mar 22, 12:51 PM EDT
Manhattan grand jury to reconvene as early as Thursday
The Manhattan grand jury weighing charges against former President Donald Trump in connection to the Stormy Daniels hush payment investigation is not meeting on Wednesday, sources told ABC News. The earliest the grand jury would reconvene is Thursday, sources said.
The grand jurors were called Wednesday morning and told they were not needed during the day as scheduled, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News. The grand jurors were told to be prepared to reconvene on Thursday when it’s possible they will hear from at least one additional witness, the sources said.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment, citing a policy of not discussing grand jury matters.
-ABC News’ John Santucci and Luke Barr
Mar 22, 8:25 AM EDT
With Trump case looming, what is an indictment?
Criminal prosecution proceedings typically start with an arrest and a court appearance, but legal experts say that on many occasions, especially in white collar crimes, suspects aren’t hit with charges or a visit from an officer until long after an official investigation is underway.
Typically, if a crime is being investigated, law enforcement agents will make an arrest, file initial charges and bring a suspect to be arraigned in court, Vincent Southerland, an assistant professor of clinical law and the director of the criminal defense and reentry clinic at NYU School of Law, told ABC News.
After this arraignment, prosecutors would impanel a grand jury for a formal criminal indictment. Southerland, who has been practicing law in New York state for 19 years, said this process includes giving the jury evidence, possible testimony and other exhibits before they can officially charge a person with felonies.
A Manhattan grand jury is currently investigating Trump’s possible role in the hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The former president has denied any wrongdoing and having an affair with Daniels. His attorneys have framed the funds as a response to an extortion plot.
-ABC News’ Ivan Pereira
Mar 21, 6:11 PM EDT
Pence discourages protests if Trump indicted
Former Vice President Mike Pence discouraged any protests should a grand jury indict Donald Trump.
“Every American has the right to let their voice be heard. The Constitution provides the right to peaceably assemble. But I think in this instance, I would discourage Americans from engaging in protests if in fact the former president is indicted,” Pence said Tuesday when asked by ABC News if Americans should protest a possible indictment.
Pence said he understood the “frustration” while calling the case “politically motivated.”
“But I think letting our voices be heard in other ways, and in not engaging in protests, I think is most prudent at this time,” he said.
-ABC News’ Libby Cathey
Mar 21, 11:00 AM EDT
McCarthy grows frustrated as Trump questions persist at House GOP retreat
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy again ripped into Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg when asked about the potential charges against former President Donald Trump at a Tuesday press conference at the House GOP retreat in Orlando.
When McCarthy was asked directly if had concerns about Trump’s alleged conduct regarding the alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, he didn’t answer the question and instead pivoted to talking about Hillary Clinton and Bragg.
“What we see before us is a political game being played by a local. Look, this isn’t New York City, this is just a Manhattan,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said he hasn’t spoken to Trump in three weeks.
When asked if Trump is still the leader of the Republican Party, McCarthy took a jab at the press: “In the press room, for all of you, he is.”
-ABC News’ Katherine Faulders and Will Steakin
Mar 21, 10:14 AM EDT
Grand jury to reconvene on Wednesday
A grand jury will reconvene on Wednesday to continue to weigh charges against former President Donald Trump in connection with the Manhattan district attorney’s probe into the 2016 hush payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, paid $130,000 to Daniels in the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign to allegedly keep her from talking about an affair she claimed to have had with Trump.
Trump has denied the affair and his attorneys have framed the funds as an extortion payment.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is mulling whether to charge Trump with falsifying business records, after the Trump Organization allegedly reimbursed Cohen for the payment then logged the reimbursement as a legal expense, sources have told ABC News. Trump has called the payment “a private contract between two parties” and has denied all wrongdoing.
Trump this weekend wrote on his Truth Social platform that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday.
The U.S. Secret Service is coordinating security plans with the NYPD in the event of an indictment and arraignment in an open courtroom in Manhattan, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News. The two agencies had a call Monday to discuss logistics, including court security and how Trump would potentially surrender for booking and processing, according to sources briefed on the discussions. White collar criminal defendants in New York are typically allowed to negotiate a surrender.
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