Former US President Donald Trump said he expects to be arrested Tuesday in a case brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and called on his supporters to protest, according to a post on Truth Social on Saturday.
A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office declined to comment. Trump said, without providing evidence, that “illegal leaks” from the prosecutor’s office indicated that he will be arrested. He did not say what the charges would be.
“Illegal leaks from the corrupt and highly political office of the Manhattan District Attorney (…) indicate that, without any proven wrongdoing (…) the most important republican candidate and former president of the United States of America, will be arrested Tuesday of next week, “Trump wrote. “Protest, take back our nation!” launched the tycoon.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office began earlier this year to present evidence before a grand jury investigating a $130,000 payment that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney, made to porn actress Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 campaign.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, says she had an affair with Trump a decade earlier, something the former president denies. Trump was president from 2017 to 2021 and has said he will seek to return to the White House in the 2024 election.
Bragg’s office invited Trump to testify before the grand jury earlier this month, according to the former president’s attorney, Susan Necheles. Legal experts said that was a sign that an indictment was near.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations linked to his organization of payments to Daniels and another woman, among other crimes. He has said that Trump ordered him to make the payments. The US attorney’s office in Manhattan did not charge Trump with any wrongdoing.
Cohen testified before the grand jury on Monday and again on Wednesday, according to his attorney, Lanny Davis. Grand jury proceedings are not public. Daniels’ attorney said he spoke with prosecutors last week.
The investigation is one of several legal problems facing Trump as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination. He also faces a state-level criminal investigation in Georgia into attempts to overturn the 2020 results in that state.
In addition, a special counsel appointed by US Attorney General Merrick Garland is investigating Trump’s handling of classified government documents after leaving office, as well as his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to the Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump leads his early rivals for his party’s nomination, commanding the support of 43% of Republicans in a February Reuters/Ipsos poll, versus 31% for his closest challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He has not yet announced his candidacy.