Donald Trump is predicting his arrest is imminent, and his legal team has been actively preparing for it.
In recent weeks, Trump and his team have held discussions on how to handle the indictment they’re expecting soon from Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, two sources familiar with the matter tell Rolling Stone. Those conversations have included discussions of the legal and logistical questions surrounding an indictment of a former president, the sources said.
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“How would this work with the Secret Service? What would booking Donald Trump even look like? How big of a show is Alvin Bragg planning on putting on? How cooperative should the [former] president be?” one of the people says. “These are all the types of questions that have been asked, including by [Trump]…because this is unlike anything that’s happened before in our history.”
Trump on Saturday morning wrote on his Truth Social platform that he expects to be arrested Tuesday. At the end of an all-caps post criticizing Bragg and proclaiming his innocence, he wrote: “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
Despite Trump’s assertion, the timing remains unclear. A Trump spokesperson subsequently told The New York Times that Trump did not have direct knowledge of an indictment coming Tuesday.
Fox News reported Friday that Manhattan prosecutors had requested a meeting with law enforcement to discuss logistics surrounding the possible indictment of Trump. The former president has around-the-clock Secret Service protection, raising questions about how routine procedures — such as fingerprinting — would work amid a coterie of armed guards and obvious security concerns surrounding an ex-president. Fox News, citing a source, said that Manhattan prosecutors had requested a sit-down Thursday to “discuss logistics for some time next week, which would mean that they are anticipating an indictment next week.”
It is thought that the possible indictment will relate to a $130,000 hush money payment made to porn Actress Stormy Daniels in October 2016. Daniels was poised to go public with her allegation that she and Trump had a sexual encounter some 10 years. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, made the payment. Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to illegally paying off two women “at the direction” of Trump.
While it’s not illegal to pay somebody to keep quiet about something embarrassing, prosecutors could contend that Trump’s repayment of Cohen could involve falsified business records, The New York Times reported. Court documents in Cohen’s federal prosecution, the newspaper noted, said that Trump’s company falsely described the repayments as legal expenses.
While they prepare for possible charges, much of Trump’s team is not worried about the political repercussions. In fact, within the twice-impeached ex-president’s inner political orbit, there is a widespread belief that any criminal charges from the Manhattan DA would only boost Trump’s popularity among 2024 Republican primary voters. “Every other legal persecution of him — two impeachments, the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago and the attacks [on] his business — backfired,” John McLaughlin, a top pollster for Trump, argues on Friday afternoon. “It will backfire enormously.” (After the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s popularity surged among GOP voters in an August Morning Consult/Politico survey.)
The expected charges against Trump come after years of Manhattan prosecutors’ sprawling investigation into alleged financial crimes. In May 2021, then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. convened a grand jury to investigate him. In July 2021, Trump’s longtime chief financial Allen Weisselberg — as well as the former president’s eponymous companies — were charged in relation to tax fraud for facilitating the payment of $1.7 million in untaxed benefits to the ex-president’s moneyman.
Weisselberg copped to tax crimes in August saying that he “engaged in a scheme” with the Trump Organization to skirt taxes. In December, Trump’s namesake company was found guilty of tax fraud in a bombshell Manhattan trial where prosecutors alleged that he “explicitly sanctioned” financial misconduct.
While Trump’s indictment must follow the same legal procedures as others, it’s unclear whether he will get the same treatment as any other disgraced celebrity facing charges — and how access to proceedings will be impacted because of his status.
In high-profile cases, defendants are typically walked through the courthouse hall, in front of TV cameras and still photographers, as they are led into the courtroom, and they are usually cuffed. And while high-profile court proceedings have far more space constraints and chaos than run-of-the-mill hearings, they are nonetheless public — meaning press and spectators alike are permitted to come and go as they please.
It’s unclear how much Bragg’s office has thought about this element of logistics planning. “Our law enforcement arm has not had an official or unofficial meeting about anything yet,” a New York state courts spokesman said. “At the appropriate time, should there need to be a discussion, there will be.”
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