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Legal drama surrounding Trump reaches a fever pitch



CNN
 — 

The extraordinary legal peril surrounding Donald Trump is reaching a fever pitch at the same time the former president is forging ahead in a 2024 Republican primary that is increasingly dominated by criminal investigations in New York, Washington and Atlanta.

But there’s no public information as to when or whether an indictment could be filed, leaving the former president and the public in suspense.

The Manhattan grand jury that has been hearing evidence in the Trump case will not meet Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the case.

The grand jury had been anticipated to meet and possibly consider an indictment as all eyes are on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is nearing possible charges against Trump over a hush-money payment scheme to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Bragg, a Democrat, has said little about the status of the probe or whether Trump will even be charged.

In another potential setback for Trump, communications between Daniels and an attorney who is now representing Trump, Joe Tacopina, have been turned over to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Daniels’ lawyer told CNN. The exchanges – which are said to date back to 2018, when Daniels was seeking representation – raise the possibility Tacopina could be sidelined from Trump’s defense in the case.

At his home in Mar-a-Lago, Trump appears to have resigned himself to the likelihood he will be indicted by the Manhattan district attorney, as he’s both celebrated how it would help him politically and complained about how “unfair” it is, according to sources close to the former president.

Meanwhile, Trump is the focus of a separate investigation led by special counsel Jack Smith over the handling of classified documents. There’s been a flurry of activity over the past day following a major ruling from a district court judge indicating that the Justice Department argued successfully it had evidence Trump may have committed a crime, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.

The appeals court is now positioned to decide whether to put on force lawyer Evan Corcoran to testify or give him a reprieve.

The three-judge panel of the appeals court gave the Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers just hours to file briefs in the case, a timeline essentially never seen in court proceedings that suggests the appeals court sees this as critical case that must be decided in haste.

While the special counsel case could pose a more serious legal threat to the president, it’s the Manhattan district attorney who appears closest to bringing charges. Amid the uncertainty over how the yearslong investigation will wrap, several advisers to the former president expressed frustration at the lack of information around a potential indictment and the logistical complications that would come with an appearance in New York, where Trump would be arraigned.

“We’re planning for what we can: What does he say and when?” another adviser told CNN. “There’s not a lot we can really plan for right now.”

Trump’s attorneys are also seeking to undercut an investigation into the former president in Georgia over efforts to overturn the 2020 election in the state. Trump’s attorneys this week asked a judge to toss the final report and evidence from a special grand jury in Fulton County.

The potential indictment of Trump in New York is not affecting the pace of charging decisions in the Fulton County case, where charges could come as soon as this spring in that case, CNN has previously reported.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Sara Murray, Kaitlan Collins and Tierney Sneed contributed to this report.

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