Former prosecutors speculate on Trump's legal peril with new Manhattan special grand jury
Grand jury proceedings are secret, so everything we know about the special grand jury Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has reportedly convened to consider evidence against former President Donald Trump and other Trump Organization executives is either from unidentified sources or speculation by lawyers, especially former prosecutors. The new grand jury's existence, first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday evening, has been corroborated by The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, and other news organizations.
Special grand juries meet for several months — in this case, at least six, the Post reports — and they "are common when state prosecutors get to the point where they are ready to seek an indictment but the evidence is too complex or lengthy to present during the normal four-week term," Daniel Alonso, a former federal prosecutor and Vance's former chief assistant, tells the Journal.
District attorneys don't generally bring cases to these juries unless they think they have evidence of a probable crime, former prosecutors say. "The prosecutors are convinced they have a case," Rebecca Roiphe, a former assistant Manhattan D.A., told the Post. "That's at least how I read it."
That's also how CNN's Chris Cuomo and his panel read the situation. "This could be different things," including Vance finding "a way to leave it to the jury so if they come up short, it doesn't look like it was on him at the end of his term," Cuomo said. "Or, and this is more likely in this scenario, Cyrus Vance is ready to make a run at one of the most evasive targets we have ever seen. ... The big takeaway is, starting with this process, you may actually see Donald Trump get indicted." Tristan Snell, a former New York State assistant attorney general, predicted no indictments until after Christmas.
At MSNBC, Rachel Maddow cheerfully reminded viewers that Vance's investigation isn't the only legal peril Trump finds himself in.
No former president has ever been charged with a crime. Trump on Tuesday called Vance's investigation a political "witch hunt."