Trump praises Manhattan grand jury a week after predicted arrest

·3 min read
Trump praises Manhattan grand jury a week after predicted arrest

Former President Trump praised the Manhattan grand jury investigating a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels a week after he expected to be arrested in the probe, arguing that the “evidence is so overwhelming in my favor.”

“I have gained such respect for this grand jury, & perhaps even the grand jury system as a whole,” Trump said in a post on Truth Social on Wednesday.

His post came just more than a week after the day he predicted he would be arrested in connection with the investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D).

A spokesperson for Trump said the district attorney’s office did not tell Trump that he would be arrested but only believed it because of “leaks.”

Separately on Wednesday, a source familiar with the matter told The Hill that the grand jury convened by Bragg would not meet over the next month, putting off a possible indictment on that case.

The district attorney’s office has not publicly indicated when a decision would be made about whether to indict Trump or if and when he would be arrested.

Observers had believed the New York grand jury might be close to deciding on whether to indict as Bragg invited Trump to testify before the grand jury earlier this month. The move is often a signal that charges might be coming to the subject of an investigation. An attorney for Trump has said he will not testify.

The case stems from a payment that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels for her to stay quiet ahead of the 2016 presidential election about an alleged affair she had with Trump.

Cohen pleaded guilty to a federal campaign finance violation among other charges in 2018 and was sentenced to three years in prison. Cohen said Trump directed him to make the payment.

Trump has acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment but said the money did not come from his campaign funds and denied having an affair with Daniels.

Trump has also accused Bragg of advancing a politically motivated investigation and asserted that he is completely innocent.

He said in the Truth Social post that he believes the grand jury is questioning the evidence put forward against him and reiterated that the evidence is “overwhelming” in his favor.

“The evidence is so overwhelming in my favor, & so ridiculously bad for the highly partisan & hateful district attorney, that the grand jury is saying, hold on, we are not a rubber stamp, which most grand juries are branded as being, we are not going to vote against a preponderance of evidence or against large numbers of legal scholars all saying there is no case here. drop this sick witch hunt, now!”

Trump said the grand jury is saying that it will not vote against a preponderance of evidence, which means more likely than not that a crime occurred, to indict him. But preponderance of evidence is a higher standard than is necessary for a grand jury to issue an indictment.

Instructions given to members of a grand jury in the New York courts system state that a grand jury only needs to believe that “reasonable cause” exists for charges to be warranted, a lower standard than preponderance of evidence.

Frank Runyeon, a New York courts reporter for the legal news outlet Law360, reported that legal experts have said reasonable cause only requires about 35 to 49 percent certainty that a crime was committed.

Preponderance of evidence means at least greater than 50 percent certainty.

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