Prosecutors in New York have convened a grand jury to decide whether to indict former US President Donald Trump on criminal charges, local media report.
They say the jury will consider evidence gathered during investigations into Mr Trump’s business dealings and the alleged payment of hush money to women on his behalf.
Mr Trump, 74, denies any wrongdoing, alleging a political witch hunt.
US prosecutors can refer important cases to grand juries.
Such juries are made up of citizens who examine the evidence in secret before deciding whether to pursue charges.
The decision to convene a grand jury appears to indicate that the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance hopes to move towards bringing charges as a result of his two-year investigation.
Mr Vance went through a long court battle to obtain Mr Trump’s tax records and part of his investigation has focused on tax deductions and write-offs claimed by the Trump Organization.
Last week, Letitia James, the top prosecutor in New York state, said her inquiry into the Trump Organization was now a criminal probe.
Her spokesperson said the inquiry into Mr Trump’s property company was “no longer purely civil”.
Mr Trump responded by saying the prosecutor was “in desperate search of a crime”.