Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg normally presents his criminal case against Donald Trump to the grand jury on Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s been previously reported that this same grand jury also meets on Thursdays, but for the purpose of hearing some other unnamed case(s).
So when the news broke late this afternoon that the grand jury had just indicted Trump, the timing came as a surprise because no one even knew that Bragg had been with the grand jury today. It’s a good reminder that these processes are secret by default, and that just because we don’t know about something, it doesn’t mean it’s not in the process of happening. Which brings us to an interesting surprise detail that’s leaked out tonight.
According to CNN’s John Miller, Bragg snuck in another secret witness today before the indictment vote. This witness testified for about a half an hour. We have no idea who this witness is. We don’t know why someone’s testimony would be so crucial that they’d be brought in to give the final word, yet also be so brief. Half an hour is not a long time when you’ve got twenty-three grand jurors in the room who are each allowed to ask the witness questions. Whatever this testimony was, it went quick and it was definitive.
Could it have been Allen Weisselberg? Sure. It’s possible that last night’s reporting about his attorney was in fact a sign that he’d cut a cooperation deal. Weisselberg would have significant, lengthy testimony to give in other potential charges that could still be brought against Trump in Manhattan. But in this specific hush money case, Weisselberg’s testimony could have been limited to quickly confirming that Trump knowingly falsified those entries in his books.
Today’s secret witness could also have been someone who was just as important to the case, but much lower profile in nature. In past Trump probes, crucial witnesses such as Alexander Vindman and Cassidy Hutchinson were widely regarded as “nobodies” when their participation as witnesses was first reported.
When this indictment is unsealed within days, we’ll get much greater detail about who all the witnesses were, presumably including whoever was snuck in under the wire today. But this sure is a good reminder that the information that surfaces about an ongoing grand jury process is always just a small fraction of what’s going on, and usually surfaces on a delay. The full story is never publicly known until the indictment is unsealed.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report