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Trump says he ‘will be arrested’ on Tuesday, calls for protests

The twice-deposed former US president is said to have paid hush money to a porn star before the 2016 US election.

Former US President Donald Trump is expected to be arrested Tuesday in a case involving allegedly paying hush money to a porn star ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

In a post on his Truth Social platform on Saturday, Trump called on his supporters to protest ahead of his alleged arrest.

“The leading Republican nominee and former president of the United States of America will be arrested next Tuesday. Protest, take back our nation!” Trump wrote, referring to himself and citing a leak from the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

He didn’t say what the charge would be.

A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

The investigation focuses on a $130,000 payment Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal attorney and fixer, made to porn star Stormy Daniels in the waning days of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, said she was paid not to go public about an affair she had with Trump years earlier. Trump has denied that the affair happened.

“So what the grand jury is investigating is whether these payments to Michael Cohen… were actually a breach of campaign spending,” said Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna from Washington, DC.

Trump’s attorney told CNBC on Friday night that his client would surrender to face criminal charges if indicted by a Manhattan grand jury.

If Manhattan’s district attorney were to indict Trump, the 76-year-old would become the first former president to be charged with a crime.

Trump, a Republican, was president from 2017 to 2021 and has already announced another bid for the White House. He lost to Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations related to arranging payments to Daniels and another woman, among other crimes. He has said that Trump directed him to make the payments.

Cohen testified before the grand jury on Monday and again on Wednesday, according to his attorney, Lanny Davis. Grand jury proceedings are not public.

Daniels’ attorney said he spoke with prosecutors last week.

The investigation is one of many legal problems Trump faces as he seeks the Republican Party’s nomination for president.

“Trump faces a series of far more prosecuting charges,” Hanna reported. “Yet he has chosen this case to highlight and has called for protests, which is very similar to the call he made on Jan. 6 when the riot broke out in D.C. Capitol Hill and for which Trump is also under investigation.”

In the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, his supporters broke through doors and windows of that building, leaving police officers beaten and bloodied as they attempted to stop the certification of Biden’s election victory.

Trump also faces a state-level criminal investigation in Georgia over attempts to overturn the 2020 results in that state.

A special counsel is currently investigating Trump’s handling of classified government documents after he left office, as well as his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The Trump Organization, the former president’s real estate company, was convicted of tax fraud in a civil case in December, but he was not charged, forcing two prosecutors working on the investigation to resign.

Trump leads his early rivals for his party’s presidential nomination with the support of 43 percent of Republicans in a Reuters/Ipsos poll in February, compared to 31 percent for his closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is candidacy has not yet been announced.