Former US president Donald Trump is expected to be indicted by a grand jury late on Monday or on Wednesday local time, in a hush payments case involving a porn star, Politico reports, citing three unidentified people involved in the deliberations.
Law enforcement officials were stepping up security around the Manhattan courthouse where the charges would be filed, with workers erecting new security fencing after Trump over the weekend called on his supporters to protest any indictment.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has been investigating a $US130,000 ($194,574) hush payment made by Michael Cohen,
Trump’s estranged former fixer, to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
A case would be a historic first as no current or former US president has ever been criminally charged.
Trump is currently seeking the Republican nomination to run again in 2024.
Officials are meeting at New York Police Department headquarters to plan for the indictment, according to an unnamed person involved in the planning, Politico reported.
“We’ll be discussing how we bring Trump in,” the person involved in the planning was quoted as saying.
“No decisions have been made yet.”
New York Mayor Eric Adams portrayed the preparations as routine.
“We’re doing what we always do,” Adams told reporters on Monday.
“We’re monitoring comments on social media, and the NYPD is doing their normal role of making sure there’s no inappropriate actions in the city, and we’re confident we’re going to be able to do that.”
Trump, whose supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, to overturn his 2020 election defeat, said on Saturday that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and called for protests.
He said “illegal leaks” indicated an arrest on Tuesday although his spokesman said Trump had not been notified of any impending arrest.
Bragg’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Sources have said Bragg’s office has been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the payment, which came in the waning days of
Trump’s 2016 campaign in exchange for Daniels’ silence about an affair she claimed she had with Trump a decade earlier.
Trump has denied the affair happened and called the investigation by Bragg, a Democrat, a witch hunt.
A lawyer called to testify to the closed-door grand jury proceeding may challenge the claims of a key witness before, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday.
Robert Costello has been asked to appear before the grand jury at the request of Trump’s lawyers because he may have information that calls into question events as described by Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, the source said.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations tied to his arranging payments to Daniels and another woman in exchange for their silence about affairs they said they’d had with Trump, among other crimes.
He has said Trump directed him to make the payments.
The US Attorney’s office in Manhattan did not charge Trump with a crime.
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