Former President Donald Trump predicted on Saturday morning that he will be arrested next Tuesday for his role in making an alleged $130,000 payment in hush money to a adult film actress in the waning days of the 2016 elections to silence her about claims she had had an affair with him.
More: Donald Trump claims he will be arrested Tuesday in a probe in Manhattan, calls for protests
A spokesman said Trump has not received specific notification that he would be charged.
Speculation about Trump’s potential legal troubles as an investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office nears its conclusion has put law enforcement and the political world on edge. If Trump’s claims prove true, it would be the first time in US history that a former president faces criminal charges, legal experts say.
Will he soon be taken into custody or indicted by a grand jury? Here’s what we know:
This is why Trump impeachment is imminent
Trump says he will still run for president if charged in one of several ongoing investigations into his conduct. But in one of those investigations — in the New York hush money case — there are new indications that criminal charges are imminent, according to new information that has come to light this week.
Trump himself predicted on his social media site Truth Social that he will be arrested Tuesday in connection with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office investigation and called on his supporters to protest ahead of a potential grand jury indictment hearing evidence in the case .
More: Former Trump attorney Cohen testifies before NY grand jury in porn star hush money investigation
Trump has denied wrongdoing and federal investigators ended their own investigation into the payments in 2019.
Danielle Filson, a spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney’s office, declined to comment Saturday on Trump’s statement. But there are other indications that an indictment is imminent.
Cohen, Trump’s longtime attorney and fixer, spent two days last week testifying before the grand jury against his former boss. Cohen, who has already served prison time in connection with this and other matters, reiterated his claims that Trump personally directed him to pay Daniels so that it would not hurt his chances of beating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
A source familiar with the investigation told USA TODAY that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his team are relying on a wealth of evidence to support Cohen’s testimony.
That includes volumes of emails, texts and other documentation collected during search warrants of Cohen’s buildings and electronic devices, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.
Daniels, who in 2006 claimed to have an affair with Trump, was also asked by prosecutors from Bragg’s office to meet with them, and did so last Wednesday by Zoom with her attorney.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, also agreed to testify before the grand jury — and at trial if Trump is ultimately charged with a crime related to the payments.
A second source familiar with the investigation said at least seven prosecutors and detectives have been involved in conversations with Daniels and her lawyer, and she is willing to share any supporting documentation of her own from the time period in question. .
Daniels’ attorney, Clark Brewster, told USA TODAY he could not comment on what he and Daniels discussed with prosecutors. But he said it wasn’t the first time he had contacted them about the matter during his representation for Daniels, which began in 2019.
Brewster did not comment on whether Daniels had actually previously testified, or been asked to testify, before the Manhattan Grand Jury, which was set to file an indictment in the case.
But Brewster said Daniels “would make an excellent witness,” citing her cooperation and testimony in the trial of her former attorney Michael Avenatti.
Trump himself was invited to testify before the grand jury, which prosecutors say is a sure sign that the investigation is in its final stages and likely to lead to an indictment. After that invitation came to light, Trump’s own attorney on the case, Joe Tacopina, acknowledged the possibility of impending indictment.
“You know, it’s getting more likely, I think now,” Tacopina told News Nation in an interview Tuesday night, adding, “But the one thing I’m still clinging to is the hope that justice will prevail.”
Trump himself has admitted in recent days that he made the payment to prevent Daniels from publicly disclosing an alleged affair with him just before the election. Earlier, Trump denied complicity in a series of public statements.
“I have done absolutely nothing wrong, I have never had an affair with Stormy Daniels, nor would I have wanted to have an affair with Stormy Daniels,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social social media platform. “I relied on counsel to solve this extortion of mine.”
Some former prosecutors, including Glenn Kirschner and Paul Pelletier, told USA TODAY that such comments could potentially implicate Trump in suspected criminal wrongdoings under investigation by the district attorney’s office, including making illegal campaign donations.
Will Trump be handcuffed and arrested if indicted?
Kirschner told USA TODAY on Saturday that authorities often negotiate the surrender of a high-profile defendant like Trump to avoid the spectacle of a “culprit walk” where the person is paraded in front of the media as they enter the courthouse or police station.
“There will be no reason to handcuff him and take him to police headquarters to get booked,” Kirschner said. “There will still be a police photo, fingerprints and a lot of paperwork to fill out as part of the booking process. So we will see a mugshot of a former United States president, but I don’t think we will see a perpetrator walking.
Trump’s spokesperson told USA TODAY that there has been “no reporting” regarding the timing of potential criminal charges. But the former president’s call for protest raised concerns among law enforcement officials involved in preparing for such an event.
The call for demonstrations, said an official familiar with the arrangements, may immediately require a larger security footprint in New York and more officers assigned to monitor the former president’s movements.
Does Trump’s call for protests by supporters lead to violence?
Kirschner said authorities should take Trump’s call to action seriously because it could lead to the kind of widespread rioting that took place at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“This is a play straight out of Trump’s playbook,” Kirschner said. “We started with ‘Stand back, standby.’ We then moved to ‘Come to DC on January 6, it’s gonna be wild.’ Now we have ‘Come to Manhattan for my arraignment. Protest, take our country back.'”
But Kirschner said he doubts Trump’s efforts will have the same result this time.
“On January 6, people were offended that they had been told their voices had been stolen. So they took it personally. Here. I don’t think there is such a personal motivator as on January 6,” Kirschner said.
Contributors: Ella Lee, David Jackson, Kevin Johnson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What We Know About Whether Donald Trump Will Be Indicted.