NY grand jury indicts Trump!

March 30, 2023 • 4:49 pm

Well, it’s happened: our first President to get a criminal indictment.  The headline from the NYT (click to read; there  are live updates):

A Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Donald J. Trump on Thursday for his role in paying hush money to a porn star, according to five people with knowledge of the matter, a historic development that will shake up the 2024 presidential race and forever mark him as the nation’s first former president to face criminal charges.

An indictment will likely be announced in the coming days. By then, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will have asked Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment on charges that remain unknown for now.

Mr. Trump has for decades avoided criminal charges despite persistent scrutiny and repeated investigations, creating an aura of legal invincibility that the vote to indict now threatens to puncture.

While the charges remain a mystery, Mr. Trump is the first former or current president to be indicted. Nearly two weeks ago, he inaccurately predicted his own arrest. It is likely that the district attorney’s office will now seek to arrange his surrender.

It is unclear precisely when the grand jury vote criminally charging the former president was taken. Prosecutors walked into the office of the clerk in the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, where the paperwork for an indictment was filed only minutes before the office closed for the day. For weeks, the atmosphere outside the district attorney’s office had resembled a circus. But the fervor had cooled in recent days, and the environs of the office were emptier on Thursday than they had been in weeks.

This wasn’t supposed to happen this week, as the grand jury was taking a break to consider other stuff. But now Trump has to turn himself in and get photographed and fingerprinted.  And this cannot help his Presidential aspirations. Next: the trial!

34 thoughts on “NY grand jury indicts Trump!

    1. Absolutely.

      Looks like there wasn’t a protest outside the Manhattan DA’s office – between Trump’s inaccurate predictions about when he was going to be arrested and assumptions about what the Grand Jury had decided before their upcoming break it looks like everyone has been wrong-footed.

      1. I would bet that the announcements about the Grand Jury’s schedule and filing unannounced right before closing on a relatively quiet day were all an orchestrated bit of misdirection intended to avoid the mayhem likely to occur otherwise.

  1. You underestimate the support this buffoon has. The indictment will lead only to a misdemeanor charge at best — and it will boost support for him from those who think the corrupt system (and it is partially corrupt) is against both him and them. An ordinary, middle-class supporter of MAGA whom I am acquainted with, when I texted him on the day of the insurrection, replied, “I’m enthusiastic. I’m ready for a revolution. I want to see Pelosi beheaded on the Capitol lawn.” He wasn’t darkly joking. This kind of ideological rot, and worse, is spread through our country widely.

    1. We will have to wait and see what the charges are. As a former prosecutor I would be very surprised if the indictment is only for a misdemeanor. That would not be worth it. If there are felonies, if I were the judge I would remand him into custody pending trial without bail. He is a flight risk (he has his own jet, property overseas, and has the money to do live out his life in some Oligarch’s country.),has led an insurrection, and has said he would get rid of the constitution and is running for president to do just that.

      1. For any ordinary defendant, posting a picture of oneself on social media holding a baseball bat next to a picture of the DA’s head, and posting a threat on social media of the potential for “death and destruction” if one is indicted, would undoubtedly warrant the prosecutors’ requesting the court to detain the defendant without bond pending trial as a danger to the community.

        1. I think Trump’s narcissism and white privilege run so deep (after all, he’s been fueled by it for over 70 years without any repercussions), he truly doesn’t believe a black person has the right to indict him. It’s an unthinkable abomination to him. I love the irony, myself.

        2. Good points as well. I forgot about them. It’s being reported that there are 34 counts in the indictment. Now I am really curious. I look forward to the indictment being unsealed. If most are felonies he should definitely be held pending trial.

        3. I’m sure he’ll be put in some kind of protective isolation, given his notoriety, and there will be secret service people about SOMEHOW, I suppose…but am I a horrible person to wish he would encounter a non-Passover-related shank while on Rikers? It would save so much bother.

          1. I expect that, despite the plausible grounds supporting his pretrial detention, Trump will be released on bond. That bond, however, will come with specific conditions imposed, likely prohibiting Trump from making any express or implied threats of violence and imposing restrictions on the public statements he can make that could prejudice the potential jury pool for his trial.

            Given Trump’s utter lack of self-control, he may well violate such conditions of his bond and find himself back before the trial judge on a motion to revoke bond. If his violations are sufficiently numerous or willful or egregious, Trump could end up awaiting trial sitting in stir.

            This is also the type of case that could result in the court imposing a gag order on counsel for both sides and on the defendant. I expect the judge will establish early on that he’s not about to put up with any nonsense from anyone involved.

      1. They may well be. But the only way forward is to confront them. To do otherwise is to cave in to, frankly, terrorism.

  2. I understand that *ucker Carlson is saying that they are very close to being out from under his yoke. Um, you could have bailed years ago and found fortune as a defector. Now, as a stooge, I hope you’ll next be heard from selling vinyl flooring somewhere.

  3. A couple of thoughts. First, I spent a year as deputy foreperson of a federal grand jury, and based on that experience, I’m not surprised that this came down somewhat unexpectedly. The prosecutors use grand jury proceedings for at least two purposes – to get evidence read into the record and to obtain indictments, and since they only bring cases they are confident they can win, the latter goal is not a problem – in our case an AUSA would walk in, present a brief summation, and then leave the room so we could vote (which usually took about a minute). I suspect that’s what happened here. Second, from a political standpoint, I’m not sure this is the best case to pursue. They will be pursuing a felony (falsifying business records to conceal a crime), I suspect it’s not one that will resonate well with the public. I would much rather see one of the other cases – Georgia, 1/6, or Mar-a-Lago take the lead. But regardless, I don’t see how this can help Trump. His rabid supporters will likely become more so, but I don’t see him expanding his support as a result.

  4. This is a HUGE blow to Trump and the GOP. I laugh at the pundits who say otherwise. The only voter that will get motivated by this is a voter who already supports Trump. And his support is dwindling even among Republicans. His Waco rally revealed he’s running on the January 6th insurrection and the victims in jail for Christ’s sake. This destroys his POTUS chances with Independent voters, and thus his chances in general; I just hope he still manages to get the GOP nomination.

    His DNA swab may lead to some interesting findings as well; his DNA will be “out there.” I’m sure Jean Carroll’s lawyers are completing the necessary paperwork…

  5. Although I love the idea of Trump being arrested and going to trial, this particular offense seems trivial compared to his attempt to retain the presidency after loosing the election. So I’m ambivalent about this.

    1. Trump has committed many crimes and there are many different jurisdictions pursuing investigations of a variety of said crimes. This is just the first one that has gotten to the indictment phase of the process. This won’t inhibit any of the other cases. More likely to help them actually. There will be more indictments.

      I don’t think it would be wise to delay or choose not to indict Trump if the evidence is worthy of indictment. Screw how it looks, screw politics. Apply the law. This fear or hesitation about indicting powerful people is one of the major reasons that our justice system is so biased.

  6. While this is not the crime I would like to see him go to trail over, I’ll take anything that is legitimate that they can make a strong case for. Maybe there will be some justice. Perhaps the first of several indictments.

  7. Be careful of what you wish for. Although many will be happy that Trump gets put through the legal mill it also makes it easier for Biden (or his family) to be put through the same process later.

    Prosecute allegations? Fine. But make sure the process is blind to political bias.

    1. Putting Trump through the Mill as you put it has no bearing whatsoever on whether the Bidens should be indicted. If the evidence is there they should be as well. I suspect the New York prosecutors were trained as I was: which is to prosecute cases, not people.

      1. Innocence is so charming! You are absolutely correct that this case has no bearing on other possible cases. But in politics, revenge is a strong motivation, and when the next Republican administration comes in (I hope it won’t be led by Trump) they will be looking for some prosecution payback. A precedent has been set that ex-presidents are fair game. Alea iacta est!

  8. A number of people here seem to be saying “I’d rather see him indicted for some of the more serious crimes he has potentially committed”. This isn’t an either-or situation is it? He can still be indicted for other crimes. This is (I hope) merely the first one that got over the line.

    1. I’m setting the over/under line on the number of indictments Trump will be facing by the time the Republican primary season kicks off in earnest with the Iowa caucuses early next year at three.

  9. Isn’t it curious how Trump’s defenders, who did not participate in the grand jury proceedings and have absolutely no idea what evidence was presented, are somehow certain that the indictment was unwarranted? Kinda makes you think that they are indifferent to his guilt and just dutifully rallying around their crime boss, doesn’t it?

    And as to the concerns that prosecuting Trump will prompt violence on the part of Trump’s supporters, or subsequent attempts at revenge by the GOP, if we allowed threats by criminal gangs to halt the administration of justice we wouldn’t have a justice system. It seems to me that we are likely facing very much the same situation that Colombia faced in prosecuting Pablo Escobar.

  10. Remember that Ike et al didn’t just drive into Berlin – he first had to tackle North Africa to be able to control the Mediterranean, to be able to come up thru Italy before D Day to then grapple with the Battle of the Bulge, and get past the Rhine and the Siegfried Line.

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