By MICHELLE L. PRICE and JILL COLVIN (Associated Press)
NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump said in a social media post that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as a New York prosecutor considers charges in a case examining hidden money paid to women who alleged sexual relations with the former president. Trump offered no evidence to suggest he had direct knowledge of an impending arrest and did not say how he knew of those plans.
But in a Saturday morning post on his Truth Social network, Trump noted “unlawful leaks” from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office that he says point to “THE LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE AND FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE STOPPED NEXT WEEK TUESDAY.
Danielle Filson of the district attorney’s office said prosecutors “will decline to confirm or comment” on matters relating to Trump’s position, as well as potential charges. A Trump spokesperson did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
Indicting Trump, 76, would be an extraordinary development after years of investigations into his business, political and personal dealings. This is likely to galvanize critics who say Trump, a 2024 presidential candidate, lied and cheated his way to the top and embolden supporters who believe the Republican is being unfairly targeted by a prosecutor. democrat.
In his social media post, Trump repeated his lies that the 2020 presidential election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden was stolen and he urged his supporters to “PROTEST, TAKE BACK OUR NATION!” This language evoked the then-president’s message leading up to the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 when his supporters burst through the doors and windows of that building and left officers beaten and bloodied as they attempted to to stop the certification of the election.
Law enforcement officials in New York have made security preparations for the possibility that Trump could be indicted.
There has been no public announcement of a timeline for the secret grand jury work in the case, including any potential vote on indicting the ex-president.
Trump’s post echoes one made last summer when he announced on Truth Social that the FBI was searching his home as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents.
The Manhattan grand jury heard from witnesses, including former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who claims he orchestrated payments in 2016 to two women to silence them about sexual encounters they said they had with Trump a decade earlier.
Trump denies the encounters happened, says he did nothing wrong and called the investigation a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor determined to sabotage the 2024 Republican presidential campaign.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office apparently looked into whether any state laws were broken in relation to the payments or how Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work in keeping the allegations of the silent women.
Daniels and at least two former Trump aides — former political adviser Kellyanne Conway and former spokeswoman Hope Hicks — are among witnesses who have met with prosecutors in recent weeks.
Cohen said that at Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totaling $280,000 to porn actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Cohen, the payments were to buy their silence on Trump, who was then at the heart of his first presidential campaign.
Cohen and federal prosecutors said the company paid him $420,000 to reimburse him for the $130,000 payment to Daniels and to cover bonuses and other alleged expenses. The company has classified these payments internally as legal fees. The $150,000 payment to McDougal was made by the publisher of the National Enquirer supermarket tabloid, which prevented her story from coming to light.
Federal prosecutors agreed not to prosecute the Enquirer’s parent company in exchange for its cooperation in a campaign finance investigation that led to charges against Cohen in 2018. Prosecutors said the payments to Daniels and McDougal amounted to impermissible and unregistered gifts to Trump’s campaign effort.
Cohen pleaded guilty, served time in prison, and was disbarred. Federal prosecutors have never charged Trump with any crime. ___
Associated Press writer Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.