Trump says he’ll be arrested Tuesday amid Manhattan case

Trump’s spokesman and attorney said his Truth Social post was based on media reports and not any actual updates from prosecutors.

NEW YORK – Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he was about to be arrested and made an unusual appeal to supporters who protested as a grand jury in New York investigates hush payments to women. women accused of having sex with the former president.

Although there is no evidence that Manhattan prosecutors have made any formal notices to him or his attorneys, Trump has stated in a post on his social media platform that he is expected to be taken into custody on Tuesday. The message appeared to be designed to thwart an official announcement from prosecutors and incite outrage from his base of supporters over accusations widely believed to be imminent.

When directly encouraging protest, and his capital letter asking to “BE OUR COUNTRY BACK!” the post evoked the rhetoric he used just before the uprising at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. congressional confirmation of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the House White, breaking the doors and windows of the building and leaving officers beaten and bleeding.

District Attorney Alvin Bragg is said to be tracking charges in the hush money investigation, and recently offered Trump the chance to testify before a grand jury. Local law enforcement officials are bracing for the public safety ramifications of an unprecedented prosecution of a former US president.

But there has been no public announcement of any timeframe for the grand jury’s clandestine work on the case. According to a person familiar with the investigation, who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, at least one additional witness is expected to testify, which further suggests that There has been no vote to prosecute.

That didn’t stop Trump from using his social media platform to say that “illegal leaks” from Bragg’s office showed that “TOP RECOMMENDATION FOLLOW & FAR & SAME PRESIDENT OF THE US , WILL BE CRATED ON THE THIRD DAY OF NEXT WEEK. “

Trump’s spokesman and attorney said his Truth Social post was based on media reports rather than any actual updates from or communications with prosecutors. The district attorney’s office declined to comment Saturday.

If Trump is prosecuted, he will only be arrested if he refuses to surrender. Trump’s attorneys had previously said he would follow due process, meaning he would likely agree to turn himself in at a New York Police Department precinct or visit Bragg’s office in person.

It’s unclear whether Trump’s supporters heeded his call to protest. Trump’s posts on Truth Social often get far less attention than he’s used to on Twitter, but he still maintains a deeply loyal base. The aftermath of the January 6 riots, in which hundreds of Trump loyalists were arrested and prosecuted in federal court, could also dampen the enthusiasm of supporters of violent action.

The indictment of Trump, 76, would be an extraordinary development after years of investigations into his business, political and personal dealings. While Trump may seek to denounce the prosecution as a politically motivated attempt to derail his 2024 White House bid, it is certain to act as a distraction in the battle. campaigning and feeding opponents and critics who have long grown tired of legal scandals. shadow him.

In addition to the New York gag investigation, Trump also faces separate criminal investigations in Atlanta and Washington over his attempt to annul the results of the 2020 election.

A Justice Department special counsel also presented evidence to a grand jury investigating Trump’s possession of hundreds of classified documents on his Florida property. It’s unclear when those investigations will end or if they could lead to criminal charges, but they will continue no matter what happens in New York, underscoring the seriousness at play. out – and the vast geographic scope – of the legal challenges faced by the former president.

Trump’s post on Saturday echoes a post last summer when he announced on Truth Social that the FBI was searching his home in Florida as part of an investigation into possible mishandling of documents. secret file.

News of that search sparked a flurry of contributions to Trump’s political activism, and on Saturday, Trump sent a fundraising email to his supporters stating that “DA MANHATTAN MAY BE CLOSING COM TRUMP FEES.”

The grand jury heard from witnesses, including former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who said he arranged payments in 2016 to two women to silence them about meetings. remove the sex they say they had with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump denies the meetings happened, says he did nothing wrong and sees the investigation as a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor looking to sabotage the party’s 2024 campaign. Republic. Trump also labeled Bragg, who is black, a “racist” and accused the prosecutor of letting crime run rampant in the city while he focused on Trump. New York remains one of the safest cities in the country.

Bragg’s office appears to be examining whether any state laws were violated regarding the payments or how Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the allegations quiet. women’s compulsion.

Porn actor Stormy Daniels and at least two former Trump aides — one-time political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokeswoman Hope Hicks — are among the witnesses who have met with prosecutors in recent weeks.

Cohen has said that at Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totaling $280,000 to Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Cohen, the payments were to buy their silence about Trump, who was then busy with his first presidential campaign.

Cohen and federal prosecutors say Trump’s company paid him $420,000 to repay a $130,000 payment to Daniels and to cover bonuses and other alleged expenses. The Company has classified such internal payments as legal expenses. The $150,000 payment to McDougal was made by the then-publisher of the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer, which kept her story from coming to light.

Federal prosecutors agreed not to prosecute the Enquirer’s parent company in exchange for their cooperation in the campaign finance investigation that led to the charges against Cohen in 2018. Prosecutors say knew payments to Daniels and McDougal were unacceptable, uncredited gifts to Trump’s election effort.

Cohen pleaded guilty, served a prison sentence, and was stripped of his rights. Federal prosecutors have never charged Trump with any crime.

Tucker reports from Washington. Writers Colleen Long of the Associated Press in Washington and Meg Kinnard of Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report. Trump says he’ll be arrested Tuesday amid Manhattan case

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