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Trump blasts Manhattan DA, claims ‘no case’ as Grand Jury doesn’t meet about Trump

By Sarah May
|
March 24, 2023

Despite a flurry of headlines that began last weekend suggesting that the indictment of former President Donald Trump by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was imminent, grand jury activity on the case appears to have stalled, as NBC4 in New York reports, leading many to wonder whether charges will be brought at all.

As the Daily Mail noted earlier in the week, members of the grand jury were informed that their services were not needed on Wednesday, and though the panel did reconvene Thursday, they reportedly did so on a matter unrelated to the Trump case.

Inaction spurs speculation

Given that the grand jury does not typically meet on Fridays, it soon became clear that any movement on the Trump matter was virtually certain not to occur until next week at the earliest, a delay that sparked a series of observations from the former president on his Truth Social platform.

“Total disarray in the Manhattan D.A.'s Office. Tremendous dissention and choas because they have NO CASE, and many of the honest people in the Office know it, and want to do the right thing,” Trump said.

The embattled former commander in chief added to his assessment of the possible dissenters in Bragg's office, noting, “They think back to the Late, Great, Bob Morgenthau, the best ever, and know what he would have done. JUSTICE FOR ALL!”

Earlier in the week, Trump unflatteringly referenced Bragg witness and his own disgraced former attorney Michael Cohen, who was the subject of troubling testimony Monday, posting, “The Rogue prosecutor, who is having a hard time with the Grand Jury, especially after the powerful testimony against him by Felon Cohen's highly respected former lawyer, is attempting to build a case that has NEVER BEEN BROUGHT BEFORE AND ACTUALLY CAN'T BE BROUGHT.”

Questions abound

As NBC4 further noted, even if the grand jurors do return to discussing the Trump matter on Monday, that is not to say that an indictment vote will necessarily occur that day, shrouding the potential timeline in added uncertainty.

Legal experts have been pondering whether Bragg can still base his case largely on Cohen's testimony in light of assertions made earlier in the week by witness Robert Costello, who deemed the former Trump fixer “totally unreliable.”

Costello himself seemed to believe that he did real damage to Bragg's prospects of success against Trump, saying, “I think the D.A. now has to call a time-out and decide if they can go forward with this case and this witness. I think I threw a wrench into their monkey works.”

Another potential hurdle for Bragg, according to law professor John Coffee, is the fact that even if it can be shown that Trump erroneously characterized hush money payments to adult performer Stormy Daniels – the primary crux of the case – that in and of itself is merely a misdemeanor, and it would be extremely difficult for the D.A. to link it to the sort federal offense necessary for a felony conviction.

Skeptics weigh in

It is the issue as outlined by Coffee that George Washington Law professor Jonathan Turley believes is especially sticky for the prosecution, and he noted recently, “One would say Bragg is outside of his lane, but in this cae, he's on a completely different highway. This is an effort by a state official to effectively prosecute a federal crime, a crime that the Department of Justice decided not to pursue,” and even at that, he believes the relevant statutes of limitations have already run.

Andrew McCarthy, a frequent Trump critic and former federal prosecutor added his voice to that chorus, saying, “Bragg is engaged in bare-naked politics. This case is not merely unworthy as a prosecution of Trump...it is also a case that everyone knows Bragg would never bring against anyone other than Trump...[t]his is classic, invidious selective prosecution.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone, criminal defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman – a self-described Trump foe -- declared, “This case is a joke, frankly, and I've litigated against that office for 33 years. I don't think that case is winnable.”

“I loathe Trump for a variety of reasons,” Lichtman continued, but it's still America, and we still have to be concerned about cases brought against people we don't like, because the next day it's going to be cases against people we do like.”

“Clear sign of trouble”

Adding his two cents on a potential Trump indictment was legal scholar and famed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz, who penned an op-ed for the Daily Mail in which he agreed that the lack of activity from the grand jury toward the latter half of the week was “a clear sign of trouble” for Bragg.

Dershowitz added, “In all my 60 years of criminal defense litigating and teaching, I have never heard of a case based on such a ridiculous stretching of the law than the potential indictment of Donald Trump.”

Declaring that “the case may fall apart, and it should,” Dershowitz took direct aim at Bragg himself, saying that he “has disgraced a once proud office.”

Suggesting that Bragg was shortsighted in his rush to pursue Trump, Dershowitz contends that the D.A. “may be worried that his license to practice law may be on the line if he continues pushing this abject travesty of justice and puts a lying witness on the stand,” adding, in a statement with which Trump would surely agree, “[e]ven a political opportunist has limts.”