Manhattan DA’s Trump Investigation Nearing Final Phase: Report
Editor’s note: This article and its headline have been updated to reflect the changes in The Daily Beast’s original reporting.
A woman who was once a key witness in the Manhattan District Attorney’s “hush money” case against Donald Trump told reporters Monday there’s something different about the investigation that’s “bigger than any taxes, paper, insurance, banks…it’s bigger than money.”
Her claims turned out to be a “media stunt,” according to The Daily Beast, which first reported her remarks.
The Daily Beast had reported it spoke with Jennifer Weisselberg, who is “a one-time Trump family confidant embroiled in a bitter divorce,” and the former daughter-in-law of longtime (now former) Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg.
“Asked about the investigation outside the DA’s office at 12:30 p.m., [Jennifer] Weisselberg told The Daily Beast that ‘something has changed and it’s up-leveled.'”
RELATED: ‘Star Witness’: Michael Cohen to Testify Before Grand Jury Against Trump on Monday as Indictment Seems Likely
“It’s bigger than any taxes, paper, insurance, banks, insurance… it’s bigger than money,” she had told The Daily Beast.
But hours later, The Daily Beast updated its reporting, stating: “Jennifer Weisselberg did not testify before the grand jury, even though she told reporters that she did.”
“Weisselberg was actually at the DA’s office to testify before a separate grand jury totally unrelated to Trump concerning a personal matter, according to a person familiar with her situation. The media stunt casts doubt on her reliability as a witness and could prevent investigators from using her to testify in the future about alleged tax dodging at the Trump Organization, according to this person.”
But The Daily Beast also reported, citing sources, that Trump could be indicted in “days.”
READ MORE: ‘A Non-Starter’: Trump’s Key Defense in ‘Imminent’ Manhattan Indictment Slapped Aside
“The decision by prosecutors to put them on the stand behind closed doors—something they’ve avoided doing for years in previous iterations of this investigation—indicates that Trump could be criminally indicted in the coming days, according to two people close to the investigation.”
Prosecutors giving Trump the opportunity to testify, which he has now declined, is another indication the investigation is coming to a close.
“Typically, an indictment comes just days later.”
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Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
Donald Trump‘s attorney Evan Corcoran, who allegedly directed another Trump attorney to draft the false statement claiming all classified and sensitive documents had been returned, has been ordered to testify before a grand jury and hand over documents and records to Special Counsel Jack Smith in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents criminal investigation.
Trump appealed U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell’s decision ordering Corcoran to testify and hand over documents, including handwritten notes. The Appeals Court in light speed mode, rejected Trump’s appeal.
Corcoran will be testifying before the grand jury on Friday, CNN reports.
RELATED: ‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
One former top DOJ official, Brandon Van Grack, says the “Special Counsel is about to get access to the most critical evidence in the case. Should allow DOJ to make a charging decision without significant delay.”
He did not define what “without significant delay” means in terms of days, weeks, or months.
Van Grack served at Main Justice for eleven years, including as a lead prosecutor in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and later, as the Chief of the DOJ’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit.
“The announcement from a panel of three judges in the appeals court – less than a day after Trump sought to put Corcoran’s testimony on hold – adds momentum to the special counsel investigation as it seeks to secure evidence that could make or break a federal criminal case against Trump,” CNN explains. “The Justice Department has successfully argued in court that prosecutors have enough evidence that Trump’s interactions with the lawyer were part of a possible crime that they can pierce the confidentiality of the conversations between the two.”
‘National Security Implications’: Former DOJ Official Speculates on Ruling Ordering Trump Attorney to Hand Over Docs
A former top Dept. of Justice official says a federal judge’s expedited ruling ordering an attorney for Donald Trump to testify against his client before a grand jury and hand over documents very well may be related to “national security.”
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell ruled that DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith had successfully made the case Donald Trump may have committed a crime, via his attorneys, in his classified documents case. That finding allowed her to invoke the crime-fraud exception, and order Trump attorney Evan Corcoran to testify before the grand jury investigating the ex-president’s unlawful retention and refusal to return hundreds of classified documents.
Former FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann, who also worked for Special Counsel Robert Mueller and headed the DOJ’s Criminal Fraud Section, Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC said it’s possible Judge Howell’s expedited decisions were related to national security.
Tuesday night Judge Howell ordered DOJ to provide information by 6:00 AM Wednesday.
READ MORE: Jim Jordan’s Attack on Manhattan DA Will ‘Backfire’ and Allow Democrats to Expose Coordination With Trump: Columnist
Trump appealed Howell’s ruling, and Wednesday afternoon the Appeals Court denied his appeal related to the documents, Politico reports.
“I’ve never seen anything that quick. It’s very hard to know why. I have to say, to me, when I think about what can be a plausible reason– and this is pure speculation – is that there must be something in the papers that gave the judges concern about national security implications, because it’s such a short timeframe.”
“The reason this is a bombshell is you could end up with Evan Corcoran as a key, fundamental witness against Donald Trump in an obstruction of justice case and a false statements case,” Weissmann adds.
According to Politico, Wednesday’s appeals court ruling “effectively permits the Justice Department to circumvent Trump’s attorney-client privilege after a lower-court judge found that the documents likely contain evidence of a crime.”
NEW: Trump Lawyer’s ‘Critical Evidence’ Will Help DOJ Make Decision to Charge ‘Without Significant Delay’: Former Prosecutor
This article was updated to correctly spell Andrew Weissmann’s last name.
Jim Jordan Waging ‘Purely Political Attack’: Demands Bragg Testify Before Congress Over Expected Trump Indictment
In an unprecedented move House Republican Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan is demanding Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg testify before Congress over his expected indictment of Donald Trump. Bragg, officially the New York County District Attorney, is an elected official whose office was created under the New York State Constitution and does not answer to Congress.
Professor of law and former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance quickly blasted Jordan’s move, saying: “what jurisdiction does Congress have over a DA elected by Manhattanites? Sure, Jordan will talk about fed’l funding, but this is a purely political attack on local gov’t.”
Earlier Monday, reacting to Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s remarks, Vance said: “It’s not up to House Republicans to review Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s conduct. It’s up to Manhattan voters. If Trump is indicted, a jury will decide whether there’s sufficient evidence to convict. The GOP continues to undercut our democratic institutions to serve Trump.”
Jordan’s letter, he writes to Bragg: “In light of the serious consequences of your actions, we expect that you will testify about what plainly appears to be a politically motivated prosecutorial decision,” according to a Fox Corp. article. The website also says it was signed by two other Republicans: House Oversight Committee Chair Jim Comer and House Committee on Administration Chair Brian Steil. None have any oversight authority on the Office of the Manhattan District Attorney.
READ MORE: Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis
“Jordan warned Bragg that if news reports of a possible Trump indictment are accurate, Bragg’s actions ‘will erode confidence in the evenhanded application of justice and unalterably interfere in the court of the 2024 presidential election,'” Fox adds.
“The legal theory underlying your reported prosecution appears to be tenuous and untested,” Jordan wrote. He also attacked former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has testified extensively in the case before the grand jury.
Just before leaving office Trump awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
According to former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who testified publicly and privately before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, Jordan discussed pardons with the White House for Republican Members of Congress, although she says he did not ask for one himself. Jordan also defied a subpoena from the January 6 Select Committee.
In a Monday morning interview with Fox Corp.’s Harris Faulkner, Jordan falsely describes Trump’s hush money payment to adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels as “some alleged bookkeeping error.” The expected charges have neither been voted on by the grand jury nor announced.
“Charges in NY are expected to involve false business records created to conceal Trump’s payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels but there are possible charges involving manipulating property values for tax, loan & insurance advantages,” Vance also said Monday.
READ MORE: ‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime
Watch video of Jordan discussing the letter and see the letter itself below or at this link:
Jim Jordan on possible Trump indictment: “Now they come after him for some alleged bookkeeping error? You’ve gotta be kidding me!”
Fox’s Harris Faulkner: “Actually paying off Stormy Daniels as hush money, as we would call it, is not illegal in the state of New York.” pic.twitter.com/iiuNKzRuTg
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) March 20, 2023
#BREAKING: @Jim_Jordan, @RepJamesComer, and @RepBryanSteil Demand Communications, Documents, and Testimony from Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg. pic.twitter.com/OyIMgadaQN
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) March 20, 2023
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