Former President Donald Trump said in a social media post early Saturday morning that “illegal leaks” from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office indicate that he will be arrested next week.
The remarks from Trump come after a report from NBC News said federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies were analyzing security assessments and making plans to prepare for the possibility that Trump could be indicted next week by a Manhattan grand jury in connection with a $130,000 hush money payment he allegedly made to porn actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“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 posted to his social media platform. “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
The arrest of a former president and current White House candidate would be unprecedented, especially given that the underlying charge is a six-year-old misdemeanor. Prosecutors are expected to charge Trump with a felony by arguing that the alleged crime was committed to hide an illegal campaign contribution, a charge some legal experts have characterized as tenuous.
The case involves an alleged payment that former Trump attorney Michael Cohen admits he made to Daniels during the presidential race to keep quiet about an alleged 2006 tryst between Trump and Daniels. Cohen pleaded guilty to related charges and served time in prison.
Although non-disclosure agreements are legal, the potential problem for Trump centers around how his company reimbursed Cohen. The payment was listed as a legal expense and the company cited a retainer agreement with Cohen. The retainer agreement did not exist and the reimbursement was not related to any legal services from Cohen, thus setting up a potential misdemeanor criminal charge of falsifying business records. The report said that Trump personally signed several of the checks to Cohen while he was serving as president.
Prosecutors can elevate the misdemeanor to a felony if they can prove that Trump’s “‘intent to defraud’ included an intent to commit or conceal a second crime.”
Prosecutors argue that the second crime is that the $130,000 hush payment was an improper donation to the Trump campaign because the money was used to stop a story for the purpose of benefiting his presidential campaign.