Trump claims he will be arrested over Stormy Daniels pay off ahead of possible indictment

Donald Trump  (AP)
Donald Trump (AP)

Former US President Donald Trump said he expects to be arrested on Tuesday as prosecutors consider charges over a hush money payment to a porn star.

The politician, who is again in the running to be the Republican Party candidate at the next presidential election, also called on his supporters to protest against the move.

A spokesman for the former president said they had not been notified of any arrest and Mr Trump provided no evidence of leaks from the district attorney’s office and did not discuss the possible charges in his social media post post which appeared to be a response to rumours reported in the media.

Writing on his Truth Social app, he said: “Illegal leaks from a corrupt & highly political Manhattan district attorney’s office ... indicate that, with no crime being able to be proven ... the far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week”.

“Protest, take our nation back!” said Trump, whose supporters stormed the US Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, to try to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

Stormy Daniels (AP)
Stormy Daniels (AP)

No U.S. president - while in office or afterward - has faced criminal charges. Mr Trump has said he will continue campaigning even if he is charged with a crime.

A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office has been investigating a $130,000 hush payment Trump‘s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen made to porn actor Stormy Daniels, declined to comment.

Sources have said Bragg’s office has been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the payment, which came in the final days of the 2016 campaign in exchange for Daniels’ silence about an affair she said she had with Trump a decade earlier.

He has denied the affair happened and called the investigation by Bragg, a Democrat, a witch hunt.

Bragg’s office earlier this month invited Trump to testify before the grand jury probing the payment, which legal experts said was a sign an indictment was close. Trump declined the offer, a person familiar with the matter said.

Former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen (AFP via Getty Images)
Former Trump Attorney Michael Cohen (AFP via Getty Images)

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations tied to his arranging payments to Daniels and another woman in exchange for their silence about affairs they said they’d had with Trump, among other crimes. He has said Trump directed him to make the payments.

Trump is also confronting a state-level criminal probe in Georgia over efforts to overturn the 2020 results in that state.

A special counsel named by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland is currently investigating the former President’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 Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump leads his early rivals for his party’s nomination, holding the support of 43% of Republicans in a February Reuters/Ipsos poll, compared with 31% for his nearest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not yet announced his candidacy.

Trump initially disputed knowing anything about the payment to Daniels but later acknowledged reimbursing Cohen for the payment, which he called a “simple private transaction.”