As early as Wednesday, a grand jury in Manhattan, New York, could decide whether to prosecute Donald Trump, setting off a chain of events that might involve the historic sight of a former president wearing handcuffs.
But a lot of the upcoming events are still unclear. A possible indictment has been hinted at by the prosecution, but it is not guaranteed. Before Trump can be indicted, Manhattan’s district attorney, Alvin Bragg, must request a vote from the grand jury that has been hearing evidence against him. To do so, a majority of the jury must concur.
After a vote, it’s unknown when there might be an indictment, an arrest, and an arraignment; this is likely to be the case.
The focus of the inquiry by Bragg’s office has been on Trump’s participation in the payment of hush money to a porn actress in the closing weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Here is what is known and unknown about the investigation’s progress and potential future events.
The three afternoons a week that the special grand jury has been hearing testimony meets are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Before the jury is allowed to vote, at least one more witness could be summoned, according to persons with knowledge of the case.
The 23 Manhattan citizens who will serve as the jury must be presented with an explanation of the criminal charges that the prosecution is requesting after all witnesses have testified. The earliest possible time for it is Wednesday afternoon. An indictment can be presented with a simple majority.
Prosecutors would most likely coordinate with Trump’s legal team to set up his surrender in Manhattan if he is charged. Trump, who resides at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, would travel to the city a few days after his indictment and surrender at the district attorney’s office in lower Manhattan. He would be charged many hours later in the same building’s courtroom.
After the grand jurors make their decision, any indictment of Trump would almost definitely be sealed, and the accusations would remain unknown to the general public. Along with his surrender and arraignment, the indictment would be unsealed, making the charges against him public.
There have been conflicting rumors regarding the likelihood that Trump will not submit, which might lead to a more complicated scenario.
In an effort to avoid criminal charges, Trump’s attorneys have spoken with prosecutors. Although unlikely, there is a remote chance that Bragg will decide against seeking an indictment. (or that he will seek one and grand jurors will vote to reject it).
However, during grand jury proceedings, the prosecution is given a lot of latitude and the defense is little involved. A possible indictment has been signaled by every symptom that is now available.
The particular criminal charges that Manhattan prosecutors might pursue are unknown, and will likely stay so even after Trump is indicted, despite the fact that it is evident that they are looking into the role Trump played in a hush-money payment to the porn actress Stormy Daniels.
According to those with knowledge of the situation, the allegations would result from the manipulation of financial documents that represented payments made to Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer and the prosecution’s key witness, as legal expenses. Such a charge could become a low-level felony if it is coupled with a second violation involving unauthorized political contributions.