By Ben Kerrigan-
Donald Trump has posted on his own social media platform Truth Social that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday in the criminal case in New York involving hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Trump’s legal team is appearing before Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master assigned last week, in federal court to discuss the records that the FBI obtained on August 8, 2022, in a hearing that is open to the public.
Meanwhile, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg’s team is investigating the hush money case and expectations had been building that Trump could be indicted as early as next week. Witnesses have been appearing before a grand jury, including Daniels and Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.
Law enforcement agencies are preparing for a possible indictment of Mr Trump as early as next week.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment on Mr Trump’s claim, and a spokesman for the former president did not respond when contacted.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has apparently been investigating whether payments made to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in 2016 broke state laws.
Trump, who is running for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, posted on Truth Social a message in which he referred to himself in the third person including the statement: “The far and away leading Republican candidate and former president of the United States of America will be arrested on Tuesday of next week.”
Trump did not evidence the veracity of the expected arrest. He repeated his propaganda lies that the 2020 presidential election that he lost to Democratic US president Joe Biden was “stolen” because of voter fraud, and he urged his followers to “Protest. Take our nation back!”
Mr Trump’s lawyers said his claim was based on media reports that he could be indicted next week.
If Mr Trump is indicted, it would be the first criminal case ever brought against a former US president.
It would also have serious ramifications for his campaign to become the Republican nominee for president in the 2024 presidential election.
Prosecutors in New York have been investigating allegations that hush money was paid on Mr Trump’s behalf to former porn star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election.
Ms Daniels says she was paid $130,000 (£107,000) by Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen before the 2016 election in exchange for silence about an alleged affair. Mr Trump denies they had sexual relations and has dismissed the case as being politically motivated.
It is one of several cases in which the 76-year-old is currently being investigated, although he has not yet been charged in any and denies wrongdoing in each.
On Saturday Mr Trump wrote on his social networking site Truth Social that “illegal leaks” from the Manhattan district attorney’s office “indicate” he would be arrested on Tuesday.
The district attorney’s office has not yet commented. Mr Trump’s lawyer, Susan Necheles, told the BBC’s US partner CBS News that his post was “based on media reports”.
Since leaving the White House, Trump has resided at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, and moved his residency status to Florida, from New York, where he was born and made his name and fortune before running for president and winning the 2016 election.
David Aronberg, the state attorney for Palm Beach country in Florida, told CNN in an interview on Saturday morning that if Trump was indicted in New York “there will be protests here” and added: “You have to worry about potential violence.”
He noted that there would be questions about whether Trump would surrender to the New York authorities or face extradition from Florida, adding that the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, a former ally of Trump but now a potential rival for the 2024 Republican nomination and a target of Trump’s ire, “has to sign off [any] extradition orders”.
Mr Bragg’s office is also said to be examining the way Mr Trump’s company compensated Mr Cohen for his work.
He also pleaded guilty to tax evasion and lying to Congress about the extent of negotiations between the Trump Organisation and a project to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.
Mr Cohen claimed Mr Trump directed him to make the payments worth $280,000 (£230,000) to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal – something the former president denies.