Back in early April, the last time I sent an indictment update, I said "I'm not going to send out updates if there isn't something worth updating," and I've held true to that. I respect your inbox, and am not going to fill it just to fill it. But today there's a small-but-important update on the indictment front (and on another potential indictment), so hello again!
But before we get to it, I'd like to reintroduce myself. I'm Dan Sinker (hello!) and I write these updates because I frequently overcommit myself and then stand by those commitments. Haha (*cries*). This is a free project, but tips are very welcome via PayPal, Venmo, or CashApp. Your support means a lot.
OK, here's a little update just for you:
Previously: On April 4, 2023, former president Donald Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, marking the first time in history a US president has ever been charged with a crime. The charges stem from a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the last few weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign and center around the falsifying of business records related to the reimbursement of Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen who facilitated the payment. Specifically, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges that the records were falsified with the "intent to commit another crime and aid in the conceal the commission thereof."
There's officially a date for the trial of Donald Trump and it's... not for a while. At a hearing today, Justice Juan Merchan set the trial's start date for March 25, 2024. Yes, Twenty Twenty-Four, otherwise known as next year. Trump joined the proceedings remotely and, according to the New York Times, "when Justice Merchan mentioned the trial date, he immediately grew agitated, chattering at [his lawyer] ... waving his hands and shaking his head." Which, honestly, me too. In addition to the far-off trial date, the judge set the timeline for the rest of the year. The defense has until August 29th to file any motions—almost certainly they will file a motion to dismiss—and the prosecution has until October 10th to respond. The judge won't rule on the motions until January 4th. Hope you all like waiting! (Source: New York Times)
At the hearing, which only lasted about 20 minutes, Justice Merchan also reviewed an order that dictates what Trump can and can't talk about in relation to the evidence against him that prosecutors will turn over to the defense during discovery. The order explicitly forbids the dissemination of discovery materials on social media. When his lawyer pushed back on the order, explaining that Trump was a presidential candidate, Justice Merchan responded that it was not his "intention to impede Mr. Trump's ability to campaign," and that he's free to deny the charges, "free to do almost anything not covered in the protective order." That said, if Trump disobeys the order and, oh you know, goes blabbing on Truth Social, Justice Merchan reiterated that there were a "wide range of possible sanctions including a finding of contempt." (Source: NPR)
Finally, while it will be a long while before Trump's trial (that is, if this schedule holds), there's another potential indictment that's rapidly approaching. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who has been investigating Trump's potential interference in the 2020 presidential election in the state, last week informed judges to "not schedule trials and in person hearings during the weeks beginning Monday, August 7 and Monday, August 14" and told her staff to plan on working from home from July 31 to August 18. It is widely believed that this is because she'll be announcing indictments in her investigation, which could well include Donald Trump. Which, if you're counting, would make him the first president in history to be indicted twice. (Source: NBC News)
What's coming next: While we're a very long time from the trial in New York, there are going to be lots of motions and procedural maneuvers between now and then. But it's the action in Georgia that seems most likely to pop off first. See you then!
Well, you're either going to be hearing from me later this summer or not for a long while depending on how things go down in Georgia, and how the ticky-tack deadlines in the New York case play out. But, either way, you'll only hear from me when it's something important and specifically related to these cases (or, you know, if the Federal investigations lead to indictments).
In the meantime, if you like my writing but would like something entirely different, I'd love to direct you to Question Mark, Ohio, the sprawling, ambitious storytelling project myself and novelest Joe Meno have embarked on. It's a story about how a town navigates its way through change. It's a meditation on grief and loss. And it's surreal and funny and spooky and takes place in real time across the internet. I love it so much. There's even a newsletter and you can sign up on the town website.
OK, back to the indictment: if this update was helpful to you, it's probably helpful to someone else, so send people to indictment.fyi/signup and they can start getting this newsletter too Thanks for spreading the word.
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I'm glad you're here,