Justice Juan Merchan levied a punishment of $1.6 million on the Trump Organization.
From a court source, Fox News has confirmed that Justice Juan Merchan of the New York State Supreme Court is presiding over the grand jury investigating former President Trump on behalf of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Merchan presided over the trial of Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former CFO, and the Trump Organization’s lawsuit. In addition, Merchan is presiding over the Steve Bannon fraud case filed by the “We Build the Wall” group.
Last year, Judge Merchan handed out the maximum penalties of $1.6 million against Trump’s businesses and sentenced Weisselberg to five months in prison.
The grand jury was supposed to meet that afternoon. Even though the grand jury was apparently “on standby” on Thursday, Fox News was informed by reliable sources that this wasn’t the case.
On Monday, the NYPD had a conference to discuss how they would respond to the prospect of filing criminal charges against Trump. Despite the low probability of an indictment, Trump has called on his supporters to “protest” and “take our country back” in the event of his arrest.
In preparation for potential protests, the New York Police Department and the United States Capitol Police have begun establishing safety precautions. All uniformed NYPD officers were required to report to work and remain on duty on Tuesday, the day Trump first claimed he would be detained.
Barriers have been erected at key places, and more Capitol Police officers have been mobilized. But they are being careful since they haven’t identified any specific risks.
Despite Trump’s repeated appeals for his supporters to “take our country back” and “PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST,” just a small percentage of his followers have done so. Protesters who wanted Trump indicted outnumbered those who turned up to demonstrate at Bragg’s office on Tuesday.
The lack of turnout was lamented by one demonstrator, Trump supporter Philippe Lejeune, who talked to Politico.
Trump, if prosecuted, would make history as the first U.S. ex-president to face criminal charges.
As of right now, Bragg’s inquiry is one of three ongoing probes of Trump’s business dealings. Special Counsel Jack Smith is investigating the former president’s handling of classified material at Mar-a-Lago, and prosecutors in Georgia are looking into whether Trump attempted to influence the state’s 2020 election.