On Wednesday, December 19, exactly a week after Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years imprisonment, someone from the Southern District of New York (SDNY) placed a document related to Cohen’s case in a vault located inside the U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
“The document, which is sealed from public view, was ‘placed in vault’ at U.S. District Court in Manhattan, according to a docket entry.
“The sealed document was filed in a case brought against Cohen by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.”
Since the case against Cohen is considered to be complete with his sentencing, the question has to be asked: What is so secret that it has to be placed in a damn vault?
Though we cannot possibly know what the mystery document pertains to, it’s worth noting that many legal experts have said in recent months that the Southern District may have obtained a sealed indictment against President Trump. Special Counsel Robert Mueller may also have gotten a sealed indictment from one of the grand juries he has convened in Virginia and Washington, D.C.
But for now, let’s stay focused on the court in Manhattan. Just two days ago, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan noted in an article he wrote for the network’s web site:
“It is even possible that the president already has been indicted by a federal grand jury in a secret, sealed indictment that will be revealed only when he leaves the presidency.”
Indictments are sealed for three reasons, Callan goes on to explain:
- “When they fear a suspect, upon hearing of his indictment, might destroy evidence before his arrest.”
- “When they fear the suspect might flee.”
- “When the statute of limitations might expire before the suspect can be arraigned on the indictment.”
The first two reasons don’t apply to Trump, but the third one is spot-on.
After Cohen’s cooperation and sentencing, did someone from the SDNY go to a grand jury and obtain an indictment against Donald Trump? If so, they may have done so as an insurance policy if Trump tries to shut down the Mueller probe.
Granted, we don’t know that document in that Manhattan court vault is an indictment with Trump’s name written on it, but that explanation certainly makes more sense than any other.
Time will tell.