Following the Manhattan grand jury’s indictment of former President Donald Trump, it’s value wanting on the mechanics of what’s happening within the authorized system and the way the method that applies to everyone seems to be being utilized to Trump.
We spoke to Elie Honig, a CNN authorized analyst, former federal prosecutor and creator of the brand new e-book, “Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away With It,” for a refresher on how grand juries and indictments work. Part of our dialog, carried out by cellphone, is beneath:
Grand jury vs. trial jury
WOLF: What ought to we all know concerning the distinction between a grand jury and a trial jury?
HONIG: A grand jury decides to indict, which means to cost a case. A trial jury determines guilt or non-guilt.
A grand jury is larger, usually 23 members, and the prosecutor solely wants the votes of a majority of a grand jury – versus a trial jury, which must be unanimous.
The normal of proof in a grand jury is decrease than a trial jury. In a grand jury, you solely have to point out possible trigger, which means extra doubtless than not. But in fact in a trial setting, it’s essential to present proof past an inexpensive doubt.
The different factor to know is a grand jury is an virtually totally one-sided course of.
Usually the one individuals allowed within the room in any respect are the grand jurors, the prosecutors, the witnesses and a court docket reporter.
In some cases, together with New York, there’s a restricted proper of a possible defendant to current some proof, however no protection attorneys are allowed within the room.
There’s no cross-examination of the prosecution’s proof. There’s no presentation of protection proof.
Close to each time a prosecutor seeks an indictment from a grand jury, she or he will get an indictment from the grand jury.
What is an indictment?
WOLF: How would you outline “indictment”?
HONIG: It’s a doc setting forth formal costs towards the defendant.
Three Trump grand juries
WOLF: We have three grand juries which might be high of thoughts – for election meddling in Georgia, on the federal stage for declassified paperwork after which the Manhattan DA. How a lot variation is there in grand juries between metropolis, county and federal?
HONIG: There are minor variations, however the fundamentals stay the identical.
Here’s an instance of one of many minor variations in New York State, however not within the federal system, which means for DOJ. The defendant does have some restricted proper to be notified and given an opportunity to testify or current protection proof, which we noticed play out with Trump after which him asking Robert Costello to testify.
That’s not the case federally. You don’t have to offer a defendant an opportunity to testify or current proof. That’s one slight variation. But the fundamental fundamentals are the identical.