Donald Trump urges followers to protest amid fears he's soon to be arrested

Former US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference earlier in March
Former US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference earlier in March

FORMER US president Donald Trump has said in a social media post that he will be arrested on Tuesday, as a New York prosecutor eyes charges in a case examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with him.

Trump said in a post on his Truth Social network that “illegal leaks” from the Manhattan district attorney’s office indicate that “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.”

Trump urged followers to protest.

Law enforcement officials in New York have been making security preparations for the possibility that Trump could be indicted.

There has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work in the case, including any potential vote on whether to indict the ex-president.

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Trump did not provide any details on social media about how he knew about the expected arrest.

A statement from a Trump spokesperson said Trump’s Truth Social post was not based on any notification from prosecutors “other than illegal leaks” to the news media.

“President Trump is rightfully highlighting his innocence and the weaponisation of our injustice system,” the statement said.

The indictment of Trump, 76, would be an extraordinary development after years of investigations into his business, political and personal dealings.

It is likely to galvanise critics who say Trump, a 2024 presidential candidate, lied and cheated his way to the top and to embolden supporters who feel the Republican is being unfairly targeted by a Democratic prosecutor.

In his postings, he repeated his lies that the 2020 presidential election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden was stolen and he urged his followers to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”

The National: WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: President Donald Trump arrives at the
The National: WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: President Donald Trump arrives at the

That language evoked the message from the then-president that preceded the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, when his supporters broke through doors and windows of the building and left officers beaten and bloodied as they tried to stop the certification of the election.

His posting echoes one made last summer when he broke the news on Truth Social that the FBI was searching his home as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents.

The grand jury in Manhattan has been hearing from witnesses, including former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who says 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 occurred, says he did nothing wrong and has cast the investigation as a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor bent on sabotaging the Republican’s 2024 presidential campaign.

Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.

Cohen has said that at Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totalling $280,000 (£230,000) to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

According to Cohen, the payments were to buy their silence about Trump, who was then in the thick of his first presidential campaign.

Cohen and federal prosecutors said the company paid him $420,000 (£345,000) to reimburse him for the $130,000 (£107,000) payment to Daniels and to cover bonuses and other supposed expenses.

The company classified the money internally as legal expenses.

The $150,000 (£123,000) 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 corporate parent in exchange for its co-operation in a campaign finance investigation that led to charges against Cohen in 2018.

Prosecutors said the payments to Daniels and McDougal amounted to impermissible, unrecorded gifts to Trump’s election effort.

Michael Cohen pleaded guilty, served prison time and was disbarred. Federal prosecutors never charged Trump with any crime.