Grand Jury Convened To Consider Indictments Against Trump

Donald Trump

The New York City prosecutor overseeing a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s business practices before he became president has convened a grand jury to consider evidence.

From the Washington Post:

Manhattan’s district attorney has convened the grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former president Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business itself should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges, according to two people familiar with the development.

The move indicates that District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage after more than two years. It suggests, too, that Vance believes he has found evidence of a crime — if not by Trump then by someone potentially close to him or by his company.

Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Member: We Weren’t Given Opportunity To Consider Homicide Charges

Deceased ER tech Breonna Taylor (AFP/Getty Images/Fair Use)

A ruling from a Kentucky judge has allowed an anonymous grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case to come forward and speak publicly about court proceedings.

The juror shares the grand jury was never given an option to even consider homicide charges regarding the police officers who shot Taylor bed in the middle of the night.

From ABC News:

“Being one of the jurors on the Breonna Taylor case was a learning experience. The three weeks of service leading up to that presentation showed how the grand jury normally operates. The Breonna Taylor case was quite different.

“After hearing the Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s press conference, and with my duty as a grand juror being over, my duty as a citizen compelled action,” the statement said. “The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them. The grand jury never heard anything about those laws. Self defense or justification was never explained either.”

They said “questions were asked about additional charges,” but the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn’t feel they could make them stick.

“The grand jury was not given the opportunity to deliberate on those charges and deliberated only on what was presented to them. I cannot speak for other jurors but I can help the truth be told.”

Grand Jury Indicts ‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett On 16 Felony Charges

In a stunning turn of events, Empire star Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Chicago.
Jussie Smollett (mug shot via Chicago Police Dept)

In a stunning turn of events, Empire star Jussie Smollett has been indicted on 16 felony counts by a grand jury in Chicago.

Smollett was charged last month with felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report on January 29.

Smollett had claimed he was attacked during a late-night food run by two masked men. The 36-year-old actor alleged the men beat him, put a noose around his neck, and poured an unidentified liquid on his head – all while yelling homophobic and racist slurs.

Police later tracked down the two men using surveillance footage, who say Smollett paid them to stage the attack.

Chicago’s local ABC News affiliate says the grand jury returned two separate sets of charges.

One related to Smollett’s initial statement to the police about the alleged hate crime. The second set of charges are in regard to his followup interview with the police later that same day.

ABC7 reports, “The new set of charges each carry a possible sentence of probation to four years.”

During a press conference last month, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that the actor initially faked a homophobic, racist letter to himself.

But when the actor didn’t get the response he desired, Johnson said Smollett paid the two brothers $3,500 to stage the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.”

Stay tuned – developing story…

CNN: First Charges Approved By Grand Jury In Special Counsel Robert Mueller Investigation

Donald Trump

And so, it begins.

The first charges have been approved by a federal grand jury in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

From CNN:

The charges are still sealed under orders from a federal judge. Plans were prepared Friday for anyone charged to be taken into custody as soon as Monday, the sources said. It is unclear what the charges are.

A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined to comment.

Mueller was appointed in May to lead the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Under the regulations governing special counsel investigations, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has oversight over the Russia investigation, would have been made aware of any charges before they were taken before the grand jury for approval, according to people familiar with the matter.

Just speculation, but three particular Donald Trump former associates – campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and campaign adviser Carter Page – are widely viewed as potential targets of the investigation.

Just this morning, Donald Trump tweeted, “It is now commonly agreed, after many months of COSTLY looking, that there was NO collusion between Russia and Trump.”

A little quick on the Twitter finger there, Donny?

Russian Investigation: Special Counsel Mueller Impanels Grand Jury, Subpoenas Issued

From the Washington Post:

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III began using a grand jury in federal court in Washington several weeks ago as part of his investigation of possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The development is a sign that investigators continue to aggressively gather evidence in the case, and that Mueller is taking full control of a probe that predated him.

Mueller’s investigation now includes a look at whether President Trump obstructed justice by firing FBI Director James B. Comey, as well as deep dives into financial and other dealings of former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

In federal cases, a grand jury is not necessarily an indication that an indictment is imminent or even likely. Instead, it is a powerful investigative tool that prosecutors use to compel witnesses to testify or force people or companies to turn over documents.

The assembling of a grand jury does not necessarily mean that an indictment is certain. But, it allows the Special Counsel to subpoena individuals to testify under oath and to force individuals or companies to turn over documents.

The New York Times reports that subpoenas have been issued in regard to the June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and a “Russian government attorney,” as well as business documents from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Former Congressman Aaron Schock’s Interns Receive Subpoenas To Testify

Aaron Schock

Just when former Congressman (and totally not gay) Aaron Schock of Illinois thought his problems might be settling down, now comes the news that a grand jury has issued subpoenas to his former interns, most probably to ask questions about his now-famous spending habits.

From Politico:

Anthony DeThomas, who was an intern for Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), received a subpoena to testify before the grand jury investigating the former congressman. The subpoena was read on the House floor Thursday afternoon.

The move by the Department of Justice to call on DeThomas, who was an intern for seven months, shows the level of scrutiny the former lawmaker is subject to.

The grand jury convened in Springfield, Illinois, is hearing testimony about Schock’s spending of federal and campaign funds.

For example, Schock billed taxpayers and his campaign for 170,000 miles on a car that had only 80,000 miles on it. Sarah Rogers, who was Schock’s scheduler, testified on Wednesday. Benjamin Cole, a former Schock senior aide, said in a sworn affidavit to the FBI that Rogers was in charge of the reimbursements in the office.

DeThomas now works for Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

NYC: Grand Jury Declines To Indict Officer Who Choked Man To Death

Just days after a grand jury declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a grand jury in Staten Island has decided not to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being placed in a chokehold.

Garner, 43, died July 17 while he was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. In a video of the arrest, which has since gone viral, Garner screams “I can’t breathe!” multiple times until his body goes limp. A medical examiner later said that he died of a chokehold, a move that is banned by the NYPD, and ruled his death a homicide.

I’m not anti-police. I’m really not. But it’s difficult to see – given the video and the medical examiner ruling the death a homicide – how the grand jury didn’t see grounds for an indictment of involuntary manslaughter.

I don’t believe Daniel Pantaleo meant to kill Garner, but he did use a chokehold (an NYPD no-no) and he caused the man’s death, albeit by accident.

How is this not involuntary manslaughter?

Reports are now coming in that the Justice Department will investigate the death.

Gov. Rick Perry responds to his grand jury indictments regarding abuse of power

Gov. Rick Perry addressed his recent indictments by a grand jury regarding abuse of power.

It’s interesting here that Perry says he had the authority to veto the funding of the state’s ethics watchdog unit.  Apparently no one disputes that.

The  problem seems to be that he threatened to cut funding unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned after being arrested for drunken driving in April 2013.

The issue at hand seems to be that he THREATENED to do so first, which is what made the case that Perry seemed to leverage his power and force an elected official from office.

A Texas judge then assigned a special prosecutor to investigate. That is how the grand jury – after months of testimony – arrived at charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, which are both felonies and carry possible prison sentences.

The idea that Gov. Perry would “defund” an elected official’s office because they were arrested for being drunk – in TEXAS – is a difficult thing to wrap one’s head around.  I grew up in Texas.  If every elected official was run out of office for being arrested while intoxicated, there would be a LOT of offices with revolving doors.

Note Perry’s pivot to the border crisis for deflection…