Washington – A New York grand jury decision Blame former President Donald Trump It’s a historic, and what is expected to be, a long legal battle between prosecutors and Trump’s attorneys.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office confirmed the indictment Thursday and said it was coordinating with Trump’s attorneys for his surrender. Details of the indictment or charges are under seal, but the grand jury is conducting an investigation related to payments Trump’s lawyers made to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. Daniels instead agreed to remain silent about an affair she had with Trump in 2006.
The former president has denied any involvement with Daniels and in a statement Thursday called the accusations “political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history.”
The grand jury’s decision to indict Trump is the culmination of an extensive investigation into an impeachment scheme that first came to light years ago, when Trump was still in the White House. The upcoming court battle comes as Trump is accused of making a third bid for the presidency in 2024.
Now that the grand jury has voted to indict Trump, here’s what could come next, according to a former prosecutor and the general process for New York criminal defendants:
Submission and Processing
In New York, after a grand jury returns an indictment, the indictments are sealed and filed in court. The district attorney then usually notifies the defendant and arranges for his surrender.
District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office confirmed that prosecutors “have contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan DA’s office for sentencing on the Supreme Court indictment, which is under seal. Instructions will be provided when a sentencing date is selected.” “
Two sources familiar with the matter told CBS News that Trump could be arraigned in New York on Tuesday. The plan is for the former president to fly to New York on Monday and appear before Judge Juan Marchan the next day. The process is expected to be brief. The allegation or allegation in the charge sheet will be read out to him at that time. Sources noted that the plan is fluid and the date is subject to change.
According to Dan Horwitz, a former assistant district attorney in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Trump’s status as a former president adds an unprecedented dimension to the case and raises more security concerns surrounding his surrender than even the most high-profile defendants. Before the charges were filed, Horwitz said it’s not unusual for a defendant in a white-collar criminal case to appear in court in lower Manhattan, where the district attorney’s office is located.
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But Secret Service concerns will likely make the process a bit different, Horvitz said. Trump will likely arrive through a non-public entrance, where he will then be in police custody, according to Horvitz.
“Once he surrenders, it’s going to be a little bit the same and a little bit different,” Horvitz said.
After they surrender, the defendants are processed behind closed doors, have their faces shot and fingerprinted before being taken to court for sentencing.
“This is a criminal case, and despite all the media hype and everything that’s being thrown around, there will be an orderly process that follows any criminal case,” Horvitz said.
A judge will preside over the charges against the former president and Trump will enter a plea. The case will not be one where bail is granted, meaning Trump will likely be released.
While judges in federal courts often set travel restrictions on certain defendants, Horvitz said New York state courts do not.
The judge will then set a schedule for standard motions to be filed, and the parties will discuss turning over evidence collected by prosecutors during the investigation, as they are obligated to do.
Horwitz said the motion process could take several months, and he indicated the case An example of what the timeline might look like involves former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weiselberg.
It is likely that Trump’s attorneys will seek to exclude certain evidence or request a change of venue, in addition to filing motions to dismiss the case or other issues related to the allegations.
Evidence collected by Bragg’s team during the investigation is not public knowledge and grand jury proceedings are confidential. But Trump’s GOP allies have suggested that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer,” could be the prosecutors’ star witness.
Cohen played a central role in arranging the payments to Daniels and testified before a grand jury twice this month. he Self guilty for federal charges in 2018, including campaign finance violations related to those payments. Trump has denied any involvement with Daniels.
Horvitz predicted that prosecutors would bring a case with a “hard amount of corroboration” rather than relying solely on Cohen.
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When it comes to jury pools and efforts to move any final trial out of Manhattan, the critical question is not whether potential jurors know who the defendant is — many high-profile people are routinely tried in federal and state courts in New York City — but whether they are fair and impartial. can
“Picking a jury in any case is a challenge. You want jurors to be fair and impartial. You’re looking for people who are going to be open-minded, (who) can be sympathetic to your defense,” Horvitz said. . “But that’s a challenge in a case like this with a high-profile defendant, who’s someone who’s got money. You might as well hire a jury consultant.”
Trump’s attorneys may question the impartiality of Manhattan’s juror pool, arguing that New York is a liberal city, so it will be difficult to find jurors who are not politically biased.
“The argument is, aren’t other areas of New York State blue? And the answer is, sure,” Horvitz said. “I would be shocked if (Trump’s team) didn’t try to change the venue for legal strategic and political reasons.”
It’s not unusual for a defendant to ask for a change of venue – movie mogul Harvey Weinstein failed attempt to move his sexual assault trial out of New York City — but it’s rare for a judge to offer that.
Trump’s legal team may also request a bench trial, which does not involve a jury and is conducted by a judge alone. Unlike federal court where the prosecution and defense must consent to a bench trial, only the defense can ask for a jury-only trial in state court.
A decision on whether to seek a bench trial does not have to be made until the day the trial begins, which gives defense attorneys time to see how the pre-trial process works.
Bench trials are usually held in cases involving complex legal and factual issues, and where the defense theory may be more technical.