Former U.S. President Donald Trump has claimed that “illegal leaks” from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office suggest that he will be arrested next week.
The comments come following a report from NBC News, which stated that federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies were preparing for the possibility that Trump could be indicted by a Manhattan grand jury in connection with a USD 130,000 payment made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Trump posted on his social media platform that “illegal leaks from a corrupt & highly political Manhattan District Attorney's Office... indicate that, with no crime being able to be proven... 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!”
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. The payment was listed as a legal expense, and the company cited a retainer agreement with Cohen, though 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, which prosecutors argue was the USD 130,000 payment as an improper donation to the Trump campaign, because the money was used to stop a story for the purpose of benefiting his presidential campaign.