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New York increases security for grand jury as they vote for indictment
WNBC in New York is reporting that security is being increased for the Manhattan courthouse and to protect the grand jury hearing the cases involving Donald Trump.
Law enforcement sources said, the situation is fluid, but the "ramped-up security is related to the Manhattan district attorney's ongoing investigation into hush money payments involving Stormy Daniels. Increased security presence is described as prudent with the grand jury sitting today, but it is unclear if they heard the Trump case Thursday or another matter."
The grand jury is scheduled to take a break for major holidays next month. Grand jury investigations are secret, so it's unknown the extent to which Americans will be informed about what unfolds. Legal experts warned that any information on it would likely come from Trump himself because everyone else involved would be under secrecy.
There was a fear that an indictment was coming after Trump said he would be arrested that week "on Tuesday." It didn't happen, but threats have followed, lending the NYPD to ask for an increase in force outside the courthouse.
In less than an hour, the New York Times reported that the grand jury was voting on Trump's indictment. It makes sense that due to the vote, the NYPD would want added security.
Trump indicted by Manhattan grand jury
Former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a grand jury empaneled by the Manhattan District Attorney's office — the first time a former president has been criminally charged in the history of the United States.
The indictment is under seal, and the exact charges are unknown. However, they stem from a $130,000 illegal hush payment Trump is accused of facilitating through his former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, to adult film star Stormy Daniels, to cover up an affair the two of them had during the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen was sentenced to prison in that scheme over charges of bank fraud, tax evasion, and campaign finance violations, and since being released has given information to Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg in the case against his former boss.
The indictment of Trump comes after a long on-again, off-again investigation by New York prosecutors. Bragg originally declined to press charges against Trump as part of an investigation of his business practices, a move that generated controversy and led to criticism from former prosecutors in the office.
Ahead of the indictment, Trump called for his supporters to stage protests — which prompted House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to step in and urge against violence.
Trump is widely expected to continue his campaign for president in 2024, regardless of the charges against him.
This is not the only criminal investigation of the former president. In Georgia, Fulton County DA Fani Willis is investigating him as part of her probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia — including the effort to seat fake Trump electors and the former president's phone call with Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger demanding he "find" extra votes to win the state for him.
Meanwhile, Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith is investigating Trump on two different fronts: his role in the incitement of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and his efforts to confiscate and improperly stash highly classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago country club in Palm Beach, Florida. Either of those could result in federal charges.
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San Diego 'Woman of the Year' attorney on the run 'after allegedly swindling more than $400,000' from clients
An attorney in San Diego who once won a local "woman of the year" award is now apparently a fugitive after being charged with misappropriating hundreds of thousands in funds from her clients, reported The Daily Beast on Thursday.
"Kelly DuFord Williams, 36, was charged with a slew of crimes — including grand theft of personal property and forgery of checks, money orders, and travelers’ checks — after allegedly swindling more than $400,000 from at least eight legal clients, according to a criminal complaint obtained by The Daily Beast and filed in San Diego Superior Court. Williams was also hit with an aggravated white-collar crime enhancement," reported Decca Muldowney and Pilar Melendez. "A March 20 warrant was filed for William’s arrest, but records from the San Diego Sheriff’s department show she is not in custody."
"Prosecutors say that starting in 2020, Williams and her boutique law firm, Slate Law Group, were hired in various civil matters. After successfully securing settlements for her clients, Williams allegedly would deposit their checks into 'her client trust account or business checking account,' and then 'spent the money without giving the clients their full share,'" said the report. "Fernando Rodridguez, a former client of Williams’, told The Daily Beast earlier this month that the lawyer allegedly stole part of his $175,000 settlement from an unjust termination case. The complaint details Rodriguez’s case, noting that Williams only paid him $24,450. Court documents say he is still owed $15,550."
The California State Bar has recommended Williams be stripped of her license to practice law, both due to the alleged embezzlement and an incident in which she "made at least two false 911 calls in Utah, where she allegedly posed as a district attorney concerned about the welfare of a child because she was angry at a former paramour."
Attorneys ripping off their own clients have made national news in recent years.
Last year, celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti — who once represented adult film star Stormy Daniels at the start of the controversy with former President Donald Trump — was sentenced to 14 years in prison for tax fraud and embezzlement of millions from clients. And this year, prosecutors argued that South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, who was convicted of the murder of his wife and son, committed the killings to cover up his financial crimes, including embezzling from his clients and law partners.
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