Tuesday, January 31, 2023


Will this be Donald Trump's downfall? I'll believe it when I see it:
The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday began presenting evidence to a grand jury about Donald J. Trump’s role in paying hush money to a porn star during his 2016 presidential campaign, laying the groundwork for potential criminal charges against the former president in the coming months, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The grand jury was recently impaneled, and the beginning of witness testimony represents a clear signal that the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, is nearing a decision about whether to charge Mr. Trump.
What a coincidence that we're learning about the newly impaneled grand jury one week before the publication date of a book by Mark Pomerantz, a prosecutor who resigned last February, a day after DA Bragg informed him and another prosecutor (who also resigned) that he was not prepared to move forward with an indictment of Trump. In November, Bragg revived the seemingly dormant criminal investigation of Trump -- possibly in anticipation of the Pomerantz book, which I assume he knew was in the works -- and now we have the grand jury, just as the book is about to go on sale.

Will there be a Trump indictment now? I'm not sure. A Wall Street Journal report says:
It couldn’t be determined whether the district attorney’s office was pursuing charges against Mr. Trump, the company or others involved in the hush-money payment.
A previous grand jury didn't lead to a Trump indictment.

In his resignation letter, which was made public last March, Mark Pomerantz said,
I believe that Donald Trump is guilty of numerous felony violations of the Penal Law in connection with the preparation and use of his annual Statements of Financial Condition.... The team that has been investigating Mr. Trump harbors no doubt about whether he committed crimes — he did.
Bragg was afraid he couldn't make the charges stick -- and he still might be. In this Trump-hating, book-loving city, it would be nice if Pomerantz's decision to go public with his certainty about Trump's guilt shamed Bragg into a more serious pursuit of an indictment. But it's possible that he motivated Bragg to create the appearance of a more vigorous pursuit of Trump, particularly around the time that the book is in the news, even though the end result could be just another criminal case or two aimed close to Trump but not at him. The Journal also says,
Mr. Bragg’s office also is pursuing a separate line of inquiry related to potential insurance fraud by the Trump Organization, according to people familiar with that investigation. The status of that part of the probe couldn’t be learned.
That's good. Maybe Bragg is closing in on Trump. Or maybe not.

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