Over alleged hush money paid to an adult film star, New York is gearing up for the unprecedented likely arrest of former US president Donald Trump.
Responding to a call for mass demonstrations if he is charged, only a couple dozen of Trump supporters attended a protest in America’s financial capital on Monday evening.
Many US media reported that a grand jury was expected to indict Trump on Wednesday (March 22) after it interviewed its final witness, lawyer Robert Costello, on Monday.
If indicted, Trump would be the first former or sitting president to be charged with a crime — a move that would likely have ramifications for the 2024 White House race.
On Saturday, Trump said that he expects to be “arrested” and called on supporters to “Protest, take our nation back!”. His lawyer, however, said that the remarks were based on media reports and not any fresh action by prosecutors.
There are fears that Trump’s call for protest could see a repeat of the January 2021 insurrection, where his supporters unleashed violence on the US Capitol.
Former US president Donald Trump says he expects to be arrested
In an online group named “The Donald,” some Trump supporters called for a “national strike” and “Civil War 2.0” to protect Trump and protest any arrest, according to AFP news agency.
On Sunday, a dozen of senior police officers of the New York Police Department (NYPD) met with mayoral aides to discuss security and contingency plans for protests, the New York Times reported.
NBC News reported that police and other law enforcement agencies had conducted “preliminary security assessments,” including placing a security perimeter around the Manhattan Criminal Court where Trump would likely appear before a judge.
In 2016, it was alleged that Trump paid $130,000 weeks before the polls to prevent Daniels from revealing about an affair she says she had with the ex-president years earlier.
Trump’s ex-lawyer-turned-enemy Michael Cohen says he made the payment and was later reimbursed.
The payment to Daniels, if not properly accounted for, could result in a misdemeanour charge for falsifying business records.
Trump has denied having had an affair with Daniels and has blasted the investigation as a “witch hunt.”