Trump screams into the void as Manhattan DA probe falls silent
But four legal experts who worked in the prosecutor’s office before Bragg’s tenure said such breaks did not necessarily signal a troubling turn for the investigation. They are more likely the result of prosecutors weighing whether to introduce a rebuttal witness to counter claims the grand jury heard earlier in the week from a Trump ally or an effort to minimize the time between a bet. indictment and the surrender of the former president.
Inaction, however, combined with Bragg’s silence – legally mandated due to grand jury secrecy laws – allowed Trump to fill the void, attacking the investigation as politically motivated, prompting his supporters to protest and prophesy. “potential death and destruction” if he were to be indicted.
“What kind of person can accuse another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) at the Republican Party nomination, of a crime,” Trump wrote on his social media site early Friday, “while everyone knows that NO crime was committed, and also that the death and potential destruction in such a false accusation could be catastrophic for our country?”
Trump’s reliance on fiery rhetoric, designed to inflame his supporters, is one reason Bragg might want to delay an impeachment to minimize the delay between the grand jury’s vote and when Trump might surrender. , said Karen Friedman Agnifilo, who was the chief assistant district attorney under Bragg’s predecessor, Cy Vance.
“If I was the prosecutor, I wouldn’t want too much time between surrender and indictment for security reasons,” she said in an interview. “I would say, let’s wait to ask the grand jury to indict until we know we have a surrender date.”
Agnifilo added that prosecutors were also likely to decide to call a witness to rebut information provided earlier this week by defense witness Robert Costello, who testified on Monday. Costello, who was once legal counsel to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, the prosecution’s central witness in his investigation, sought to discredit Cohen.
“If they want to go after Donald Trump and they have solid evidence, so be it. But Michael Cohen is far from solid evidence,” Costello told a press conference. press after testifying before the panel. He also accused the prosecutor’s office of choosing evidence by asking him about only six of the 321 emails between his company and Cohen. For his part, Cohen disputed the claims. by Costello.
Former Manhattan assistant district attorney Jeremy Saland, who worked under Bragg’s two predecessors, said prosecutors could consider additional evidence, possibly from Costello, or simply frame the indictment against him. -even. Saland said he would read “absolutely nothing” about the fact that the grand jury adjourned on Wednesday and heard evidence on an unrelated case on Thursday. The grand jury usually meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Other legal experts familiar with the bureau’s operations have said prosecutors may be dealing with other documents, such as a February 2018 letter published by the Daily Mail this week from a former lawyer for Cohen at the Federal Election Commission saying that Cohen had used his personal funds to pay for the porn. star, Stormy Daniels, and has not been refunded for payment. These claims contrast with what Cohen later pleaded guilty to in federal court.
While that kind of evidence doesn’t necessarily torpedo Bragg’s case, legal experts said, it could be something prosecutors need to weigh up.
Meanwhile, the frenzy surrounding the case has left law enforcement, justice officials, media and lawyers in a waiting pattern, watching for any clues from Bragg’s office about the direction of the investigation. and leaving some frustrated with the time and resources invested in a years-long investigation that still seemed incomplete.
Still, Joan Vollero, who handled communications for the Manhattan district attorney under Vance, said the length of the investigation, combined with this week’s break in hearing grand jury evidence in the case , could help insulate the prosecutors office from accusations that it is rushing to trial.
“No one can accuse DA Bragg of being hasty in this matter,” she said.
On the other hand, Vollero added, “Delay always benefits the defendant because the evidence weakens over time and the memories of witnesses fade, and that’s what benefits Donald Trump.”