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News / Politics

AP source: Trump grand jury hearing other matters Thursday

By MICHAEL R. SISAK and ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press
Published: March 23, 2023, 11:45am

NEW YORK (AP) — The Manhattan grand jury investigating Donald Trump over hush money payments met on other matters Thursday, further delaying a vote on whether or not to indict the former president, according to a person familiar with the matter.

There was no immediate explanation from prosecutors about why the grand jury was not taking up the Trump matter during its scheduled Thursday session after not meeting at all on Wednesday. There also was no word on when or if prosecutors might resume presenting evidence or ask for a decision on bringing historic criminal charges.

The panel is an investigative grand jury, meaning it hears other cases beyond the one focused on hush money paid on Trump’s behalf during the 2016 presidential campaign to a porn actor who says she had a sexual encounter with him years earlier.

Even so, the grand jury’s pause on Trump — confirmed by a person who was not authorized to discuss the proceedings and who spoke on condition of anonymity — has given an opening to the former president and supporters to claim the investigation is somehow stalled.

In keeping with the secret nature of the grand jury process, prosecutors also on Thursday rebuffed a request from House Republicans for records and testimony on the investigation, a request that the general counsel to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg called an “unlawful incursion into New York’s sovereignty.”

The prosecutors said Trump had created “a false expectation” about being arrested, and they offered no update on the timing for any possible. action.

Grand jury proceedings are closed to the pubic and the media, with prosecutors prevented by law from sharing any details of what takes place. But these proceedings have captivated public attention, each development magnified because the presumed target is a former president and because Trump himself said last weekend he expected to be arrested on Tuesday.

The limited snapshots of the investigation have largely come from witnesses and their attorneys, who don’t share the same secrecy obligation. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer and a key government witness in this case, has spoken publicly about his appearances, as has another recent witness, Robert Costello, an attorney who presented testimony aimed at undermining Cohen’s credibility.

The district attorney’s office, which is leading the investigation, has offered no public indication of timing.

In a letter sent Thursday to Republican lawmakers who sought documents and testimony about the investigation, the office’s general counsel, Leslie Dudek, wrote that Trump had “created a false expectation” on the timing of an arrest, and Dudek reiterated prosecutors’ obligation to preserve the secrecy of the investigation.

“These confidentiality provisions exist to protect the interests of the various participants in the criminal process — the defendant, the witnesses and members of the grand jury — as well as the integrity of the grand jury proceeding itself,” the letter said.