Donald Trump has said he could be arrested on Tuesday and demanded his supporters “protest” the move.
The former President, who has vowed to run for President again in 2024, cited reports that law enforcement and security agencies are preparing for an indictment as early as next week.
No charges have yet been filed against Mr Trump, who is under investigation by prosecutors in New York in connection with alleged ‘hush money’ payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and another woman relating to intimate encounters.
NBC News reports that the New York Police Department, New York State Court Officers, the US Secret Service, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office are involved in the complex negotiations relating to a possible surrender by Mr Trump.
Posting on his social network Truth Social, Mr Trump railed against “ILLEGAL LEAKS FROM A CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE”.
Continuing to write in capital letters, Mr Trump said that “the far and away leading Republican candidate and former President of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week”.
Addressing his supporters, he wrote: “Protest, take our nation back!”
Mr Trump insisted there was “no crime” able to be proven and that the investigation relates to an “old and fully debunked fairytale”.
His attorney Joe Tacopina told NBC News that the former president will follow normal procedures if it gets to the point of having to surrender to authorities.
A 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 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.
Cohen has said that at Mr Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totalling $280,000 to porn actor Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Cohen, the payouts were to buy their silence about Mr Trump, who was then in the thick of his first presidential campaign.
Cohen and federal prosecutors said Mr Trump’s company paid him $420,000 to reimburse him for the $130,000 payment to Ms Daniels and to cover bonuses and other supposed expenses. The company classified those payments internally as legal expenses.
The $150,000 payment to Ms McDougal was made by the then-publisher of the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer, which kept her story from coming to light.
Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud in 2018 after an earlier investigation, serving prison time and facing disbarment.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Mr Trump’s company compensated Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.