Trump election grand jury back at work in federal courthouse

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WASHINGTON — The federal grand jury that returned an indictment against former President Donald Trump last week was meeting again Tuesday — an indication that special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into alleged 2020 election interference is far from over.

Members of the grand jury were seen in the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in the late morning while apparently taking a break before returning to where the grand jury meets. It was not clear whether they were hearing testimony from witnesses. They departed the courthouse around 1:30 p.m. ET.

The four-count indictment accusing Trump of using “unlawful means” to try to stay in power alleged that he carried out his schemes with help of six co-conspirators — four attorneys, a Justice Department official and a political consultant.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintains the probe is part of a Democratic “witch hunt” against him.

While the alleged co-conspirators aren’t named in the indictment, NBC News has been able to identify five of the six based on details in the court filing and transcripts of testimony to the Jan. 6 Committee and other records. The five appear to be former New York City Mayor and longtime Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani; lawyers John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro, architects of the “fake electors scheme”; attorney Sidney Powell, who helped lead Trump’s post-campaign legal efforts and promoted conspiracy theories; and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who tried to put the weight of the DOJ behind Trump’s debunked fraud claims.

Attorneys for Giuliani and Eastman have acknowledged their clients appear to be identified as co-conspirators and have denied they did anything illegal.

Representatives for Powell, Clark and Chesebro have not responded to requests for comment.

The judge presiding over the Trump case, U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan,

On Monday, Smith’s team interviewed former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik in connection with the election probe.

The interview lasted for about five hours, and largely focused on the work Kerik performed investigating voter fraud allegations on behalf of Giuliani, his longtime friend and former boss, Kerik lawyer Timothy Parlatore said Monday.

Meanwhile, a dispute over a protective order in the Trump case that would enable the government to start handing over evidence to the former president’s attorneys seemed stalled Tuesday after Trump’s lawyers indicated they weren’t available on any dates offered by the judge for a hearing on the issue.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan had ordered Smith’s office and Trump’s lawyers to pick a date on or before this Friday. The hearing is to debate Trump’s objections to an order that would bar him from publicly disclosing prosecutors’ evidence in the case. Trump’s attorneys argue the order is too broad.

In a joint filing Tuesday, the special counsel’s office said it was available for a hearing on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Trump’s team said Thursday was no good for them. One of Trump’s two lawyers on the case, Todd Blanche, is due in federal court in Florida that day for his client’s arraignment on a superseding indictment in a separate prosecution brought by Smith’s office alleging Trump mishandled national security documents and tried to cover it up.

They asked that the hearing be held on Monday or Tuesday of next week, but did not explain why Wednesday or Friday were not options.

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