By Glenn Fleishman
January 4, 2019

Robert Mueller’s grand jury in Washington, D.C., has received an extension of up to six months from the head judge of the D.C. district court to consider evidence and bring indictments. The grand jury was empaneled on July 6, 2017, and would have expired on Sunday without the extension.

Special Counsel Mueller, appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate whether and how Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, has indicted 33 people and three companies since his work began. He’s secured several convictions and guilty pleas, and some parties have already been sentenced or have completed their sentences. President Donald Trump consistently downplays the investigation, labeling it a “witch hunt,” and denying any “collusion” occurred between his campaign and Russian representatives.

Mueller’s indictments, accepted pleas, and convictions include:

Although other indictments have also been issued, it’s unclear how much work remains for the grand jury to sift through. But the judge’s action indicates that it’s not yet finished.

The special assistant to Chief Judge Beryl Howell confirmed to several media outlets, including The Hill, that a grand-jury extension past the original 18-month period had been granted, but denied a CNN report that the period was six months. Six months is the longest the judge can extend the special counsel’s grand jury.

A prosecutor presents evidence and examines witnesses before a grand jury, the deliberations of which must be kept secret by the participants, though those testifying may reveal their participation. The members of the grand jury can then vote whether an indictment should be issued. A prosecutor can bring charges even if the grand jury doesn’t agree, or can choose not to pursue an indictment a grand jury agrees on.

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