Prosecutors in Manhattan assembled a second grand jury this week as part of their criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s corporation, which has already resulted in charges against Chief Financial Officer Alan Weisselberg.
According to the Washington Post, the new long-term grand jury will focus on how the Trump Organization evaluated its assets and may decide on further indictments.
Barbara McQuade, a former US attorney, appeared on MSNBC on Saturday to explore what the new grand jury could imply.
“Grand jury investigations are by definition secret, and so we only know little dribs and drabs that get leaked out,” McQuade explained. “And just because a grand jury is investigating doesn’t mean charges will be returned. It may be that they’ll investigate and determine that there is insufficient evidence or no crime at all. But the fact that they’ve proceeded to this stage does suggest that the case has taken a serious turn.”
“They (prosecutors) begin by looking at documents and records and talking to people, and if and when they think it’s reaching a point where they need to call people in to testify, that’s when they impanel a grand jury,” said McQuade, who served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2010 to 2017. “So, it sounds like they’ve reached that stage. I do think this suggests it’s moving into an advanced stage and the evidence they’ve obtained so far is serious enough to believe that charges are possible.”
The New York Times reported on Saturday that Georgia prosecutors are planning to call a grand jury as part of a criminal investigation into the former president.
The prosecutor, Fulton County’s Fani Willis, began her investigation in February, and her office has been conferring with the House committee, whose testimony could be crucial to her investigation. However, she has been hindered in part by the panel’s fact-gathering delays. Ms. Willis, a Democrat, would be signaling that her own investigation is ramping up by assembling a grand jury focused only on the charges of election meddling.
Given the numerous interactions he and his allies had with Georgia officials, including Trump’s January call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, urging him to “find 11,780 votes” — enough to overturn the state’s election result — legal experts see her investigation as potentially perilous for the former president. The Georgia case is one of two ongoing criminal investigations into the former president and his group; the other being the Manhattan district attorney’s probe into his financial activities.
Willis’ investigation is taking place in a state that is still at the core of the country’s contentious voting wars.
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The Biden Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Georgia, alleging that the state’s Republican-led legislature passed a voting statute that discriminates against Black voters. Simultaneously, Mr. Trump is attempting to restructure the state’s political scene by removing Republicans who he believes are hesitant to do his bidding or accept his phony charges of election fraud. He’s backing a challenger to Mr. Raffensperger in next year’s primary, and he’s courting potential candidates to run against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. Former Senator David Perdue, a Trump loyalist, is considering a run, while former NFL star Herschel Walker is considering a Senate run. (A new governor would not have direct pardon power, which is given to a state board in Georgia.)