What's behind Donald Trump's claims? Dan Rivers explains
Donald Trump says he expects to be arrested next week, despite no evidence that prosecutors have given any official notice to him or his lawyers.
Calling on his supporters to “protest” – evoking memories of his rhetoric before the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 – Mr Trump declared in a post on his social media platform that he expected to be taken into custody on Tuesday.
A New York grand jury is investigating hush money payments to women who alleged sexual encounters with the former president.
The message seemed designed to pre-empt a formal announcement from prosecutors and to galvanise outrage from his base of supporters in advance of charges widely seen as coming soon.
His post includes a message to “TAKE OUR NATION BACK”.
A spokesperson and a lawyer for Trump said his Truth Social post was based on media reports rather than any actual update from, or communication with, prosecutors, while the district attorney’s office did not comment.
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District Attorney Alvin Bragg is thought to be eyeing charges in the hush money investigation, and recently offered Mr Trump a chance to testify before the grand jury.
Local law enforcement officials are bracing for the public safety ramifications of an unprecedented prosecution of a former American president.
But there has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work in the case.
At least one additional witness is expected to testify, further indicating that no vote to indict has yet been taken, according to a person familiar with the investigation who was not authorised to publicly discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
That did not stop Mr Trump from taking to his social media platform to say “illegal leaks” from Mr Bragg'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.”
Should Mr Trump be indicted, he would be arrested only if he refused to surrender.
His lawyers have previously said he would follow normal procedure, meaning he would likely agree to surrender at a New York Police Department precinct or directly to Mr Bragg's office.
In addition to the hush money probe in New York, Mr Trump faces separate criminal investigations in Atlanta and Washington over his efforts to undo the results of the 2020 election.
A Justice Department special counsel has also been presenting evidence before a grand jury investigating Mr Trump’s possession of hundreds of classified documents at his Florida estate.
It is not clear when those investigations will end or whether they might result in criminal charges, but they will continue regardless of what happens in New York, underscoring the ongoing gravity – and broad geographic scope – of the legal challenges confronting the former president.
The grand jury 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 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 campaign.
Mr Trump also has labelled Mr Bragg, who is Black, a “racist” and has accused the prosecutor of letting crime in the city run amok while he has focused on Trump.
New York remains one of the safest cities in the country.