Trump Suggests Arrest Could Come on Tuesday as Law Enforcement Prepares for Indictment
‘We will follow the normal procedures’ in the event of an indictment, a lawyer for the former president says, suggesting that he will surrender to authorities.
Updated at 9:55 A.M. E.D.T.
President Trump suggested he could be arrested on Tuesday, the Hill reported, as the investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into alleged hush money paid by the former president to an adult film star appears to move to its conclusion.
Mr. Trump said on Saturday that “illegal leaks” point to the likelihood that “the far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week,” the Hill said.
The former president’s followed reports on Friday law enforcement officials in New York are making security preparations for an indictment in the coming weeks over the hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with him.
Mr. Trump condemned the reports of a possible indictment on Friday. “These four horrible, radical left, Democrat investigations of your all-time favorite president — me — are just a continuation of the most disgusting witch hunt in the history of our country,” he said.
There has been no public announcement of any time frame for the New York grand jury’s secret work, including any potential vote on whether to indict the ex-president.
The law enforcement officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said authorities are just preparing in case of an indictment.
They described the conversations as preliminary and are considering security, planning and the practicalities of a potential court appearance by a former president.
Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, told the AP that if the former president is indicted, “we will follow the normal procedures.”
The Manhattan district attorney’s office had no comment. A message was left for court administrators.
The grand jury has been hearing from witnesses including a 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 Mr. Trump a decade earlier.
Mr. 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.
“Democrats have investigated and attacked President Trump since before he was elected — and they’ve failed every time,” a campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, said in a statement Thursday about the inquiry.
The office of the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Mr. Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.
At least two former Trump aides — a onetime political adviser, Kellyanne Conway, and a former spokeswoman, Hope Hicks — are among witnesses who have met with prosecutors in recent weeks.
Cohen has said that at Mr. Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totaling $280,000 to porn actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Cohen, the payouts 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 to reimburse him for the $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels and to cover bonuses and other supposed expenses. The company classified those payments internally as legal expenses.
The $150,000 payment to Ms. 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 cooperation in a campaign finance investigation that led to charges against Cohen in 2018.
Prosecutors said the payments to Ms. Daniels and Ms. McDougal amounted to impermissible, unrecorded gifts to Mr. Trump’s election effort.
Cohen pleaded guilty, served prison time and was disbarred. Federal prosecutors never charged Mr. Trump with any crime.