Politics - News Analysis
MSNBC Panel Explains Why NYC’s Trump Grand Jury is a Big Deal: ‘He is in Big Trouble’
By now, most have heard the breaking news that the Manhattan D.A. (As opposed to the state A.G.) convened a grand jury in New York to take up the Trump Organization cases. It means that the D.A., at a minimum, thinks one or more people committed a felony or felonies. Each state has its own process as to how to get an indictment for a felony. Some states just have the D.A. file a felony complaint and then the defendant gets a preliminary hearing which is sort of a mini-trial in front of a judge. The judge decides whether there is enough evidence to go forward to a jury trial, some do the process through a grand jury.
The bottom line is that NYC believes it can now file felony charges against someone or someones in the Trump Organization.
Many watched Ari Melber’s show afterward. Ari is a lawyer (and a very good one) who had even better lawyers as his guests and they addressed what it all meant. Robert Mueller assistant prosecutor Andrew Weissmann wasn’t surprised because he’s likely seen plenty of evidence or heard things in the past:
Well, it’s important to keep this in context because that reporting is consistent with what was revealed by the New York Attorney General’s office this past summer when they were skirmishing with Eric Trump. This issue of tax fraud and bank fraud and insurance fraud is one that’s been going on for some time. I think the big news is that they now have convened a grand jury, and that is certainly a prerequisite to bringing a charge. Whether they get there or not is something we don’t know. The fact they’re sitting three days a week is unusual and it suggests the seriousness of purpose since that’s not typical.
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Pay attention to the bolded portion. Most Grand Juries sit once a week. It shows some kind of urgency of purpose and that does not look good at all if you’re Donald Trump or in the Trump team. It means there’s something unusual about what they’re finding or planning.
As always, getting charges filed against someone is often a big predicate in getting them to flip. The most obvious Trump Organization “flip” is the one guy who’s not a Trump, Allen Weisellberg:
“And I would think that this is going to mean that if you are Allen Weisselberg, you know, you are feeling the pressure today, that this is really ratcheting up what’s going on.
The heat just turned up considerably on Trump. In our experience, once a grand jury is empaneled, they rarely don’t return an indictment on some kind of charge. They may not support everything the D.A. wants but there is the old saying, “You can indict a ham sandwich,” and it applies here.
One other small thing. As we’ve noted repeatedly, grand jury proceedings are held in secret. The Washington Post learned of this one and we’re not sure how. But even more importantly, the targeted defendant is not allowed to have an attorney present. It is the D.A.’s office, witnesses called individually, and the grand jury. There is no judge and no defendant for the lawyer. Trump will have no idea what they’re talking about unless a certain witness discusses his testimony with Trump, which seems pretty unlikely because they won’t want to admit what they said under oath.
[email protected] and on Twitter @JasonMiciak