The grand jury investigating Donald Trump’s hush money deal with porn star Stormy Daniels will not meet Wednesday as the waiting game continues for a possible criminal indictment against the former president.
The Daily News confirmed that the session had been canceled with two sources. One said the prosecutor’s office had notified grand jurors to stay home on “hold” and be prepared to return Thursday. Business Insider first reported on the development.
The cancellation of the panel, which sources say usually meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, means the long-awaited decision on Trump’s possible impeachment could be delayed until later this week or even next week.
It was unclear if prosecutors intend to call more witnesses when the grand jury reconvenes, or if the panel’s next step is to vote on a potential indictment.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan will preside over the case if Trump is indicted, a source with direct knowledge told The News. Merchan presided over the trial of the Trump Organization and the case of its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
Michael Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, said the former Trump mediator, who issued the payment to Daniels, had not been asked to return and did not know if he would still be able to.
As anticipation of a possible indictment mounted, the lower Manhattan courthouse was packed with media waiting for a decision. The grand jury has been investigating the secret payments made to Daniels on the eve of Trump’s election as president in 2016, how Trump classified the refund checks to his then-attorney Cohen, and how he concealed the transaction to conceal his purpose to influence the choice.
The potential criminal charges would be the first filed against a former US president.
Local and federal authorities are poised for chaos to engulf the courthouse should an indictment be filed after Trump called on supporters on Saturday to “protest” his arrest. There is also heavy security around Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
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The hush deal with Daniels has been public knowledge for a long time. Cohen detailed the entire scheme and Trump’s role in it during his 2018 federal case when he faced campaign finance violations, among other crimes.
The former Trump attorney famously referred to Trump in his guilty plea as “Individual 1,” admitting that he issued the payment to Daniels “for the primary purpose of influencing” the 2016 presidential election.
Daniels’ $130,000 payment came as the Trump campaign learned she was ready to go public with her allegations about sleeping with Trump in 2006 at a Lake Tahoe golf tournament, according to the federal case. Cohen took out the money through a home equity line of credit and transferred it to Daniels through an LLC.
Cohen said he also helped arrange for the editor of the National Enquirer to pay Playboy model Karen McDougal $150,000, who he said slept with Trump between 2006 and 2007.
In the federal case, prosecutors said Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of” Trump and campaign officials to illegally pay Daniels to hush up the alleged sexual encounter in order to improve his chances of winning the presidency.
The feds said Trump and his company paid Cohen the hush money back to Daniels in monthly refund checks with interest, which were falsely classified as “legal expenses.”
Although they implicated him directly in their case, the feds ultimately declined to press charges against Trump, apparently fearing the case would escalate into a political storm and pale in comparison to what he was charged with in the US Capitol riot. the US on January 6.