Trump says he expects to be arrested Tuesday, urges nation to protest
Trump denies wrongdoing but has promised to surrender to authorities if indicted so he can contest the charges.
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Former President Donald Trump said Saturday he expects to be arrested Tuesday by New York prosecutors in a case over hush money to a porn star and called for Americans to protest and "take back our nation."
Trump made the announcement on his Truth Social platform, slamming Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in a post that used all capital letters for trying to indict a former president rather than focus on rising crime in America's largest city.
"Now illegal leaks from a corrupt & highly political Manhattan district attorneys office, which has allowed new records to be set in violent crime & whose leader is funded by George Soros, indicate that, with no crime being able to be proven, & based on an old & fully debunked (by numerous other prosecutors!) fairytale, the far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week," Trump wrote.
"Protest, take our nation back!" he added.
If Trump's prediction is correct, the nation is headed to a moment never before experienced, not even under Richard Nixon or Andrew Johnson. No former president has ever been prosecuted in American history.
Political experts have predicted a Trump indictment would galvanize an already bitter divide in America between liberals who see Trump unfit to lead and conservatives who see the 75-year-old former president as a successful leader who has been unfairly tarred by "banana Republic" smear tactics from Democrats and ideological bureaucrats in the law enforcement and intelligence world.
Law enforcement officials began quietly making security arrangements for an indictment later this week.
Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, told The Associated Press that Bragg's office "will decline to confirm or comment" on questions pertaining to Trump's post.
Trump has said he will continue to run for president in 2024 even if he is charged and has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, calling the probe a "witch hunt" by a Democrat prosecutor.
A grand jury in Manhattan has been soliciting testimony from witnesses, including disgraced former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who alleges he arranged payments in 2016 to two women to silence them about sexual encounters they claimed to have had with Trump a decade earlier.
Cohen — who has pleaded guilty to crimes, served prison time and was disbarred — alleges he arranged payments totaling $280,000 to porn actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen claims the payments were hush money to buy the women's silence as Trump made his first run for office in 2016.
Legal experts like Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz have raised concerns about the legal merits of the case. Prosecutors would also face questions about a case built upon the testimonies of a porn star, and the work of two disgraced lawyers. In addition to Cohen, Daniels' former lawyer, Michael Avenatti, also has been convicted of crimes.
One of the challenges for prosecutors is that Cohen, who has admitted in federal court to false statements to Congress, played a central role in the payments.
Joe Tacopina, Trump's lawyers in the case, signaled a likely defense strategy in a TV interview last week, suggesting that Daniels demanded "extortion" money from Trump and that Cohen advised the strategy to use.
Cohen is a "fraud, a liar" and "was his lawyer at the time and advised him that this was the proper way to do this to protect himself and his family from embarrassment. It is simple as that," Tacopina told MSNBC recently.
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