Former US president Donald Trump says he may be arrested on March 21: All about the case, charges
The arrest of a former president – who is also an active candidate for the White House in 2024 – would be unprecedented in US history.
In his usual pompous style, Trump has criticized the “fraudulent” justice system and called on his supporters to launch protests.
“Top Republican candidate & former US President will be arrested next Tuesday,” the 76-year-old billionaire recently said on his Truth Social platform, adding: “Protests , take back our country!”
Here’s what you need to know:
What is the porn star case?
The current investigation, led by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, an elected Democrat, focuses on $130,000 paid weeks before the 2016 poll to stop the porn star. Storm Daniels from going public about an affair she said she had with Trump years earlier.
Trump denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and dismissed the investigation as politically motivated.
On March 13, a New York court tried former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who paid Daniels. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 on related federal charges. He pleaded guilty but said he carried out Trump’s orders.
Daniels herself met with prosecutors on March 15 and “agreed to provide herself as a witness or to investigate further if necessary,” according to her attorney Charles Brewster.
Trump has been invited to testify, which legal experts say an indictment is approaching.
What are the charges against Trump?
The payment to Daniels, if not accounted for correctly, could result in a misdemeanor for falsifying business records. That could be elevated to a felony if the accounting was wrong to cover up a second crime, such as a campaign finance breach.
Trump’s attorney says his client, if indicted, will turn himself in to face criminal charges.
What could happen next week?
In the near term, any indictment would require Trump to go to the district attorney’s office in downtown New York to turn himself in. In white-collar cases, the defendant’s attorney and the prosecutor often agree on a date and time rather than arresting the person at home.
Trump will take fingerprints and screenshots and will appear to press charges in court. Experts say he will likely be released and allowed to go home.
Trump’s attorney, Joe Tacopina, said Trump would surrender if charged.
If Trump refuses to come voluntarily, prosecutors could seek his extradition from Florida, where he currently resides.
When was Trump arrested?
Trump has said he expects to be “arrested” on March 21 as prosecutors show signs of moving closer to an indictment.
However, Trump’s attorney, Susan Necheles, pointed out that his posts on Saturday were based on media reports and not on any new actions taken by prosecutors. .
Reports say authorities are planning to increase security around the Manhattan courthouse in the coming days.
Can Trump really be arrested?
Incumbent presidents are largely free from criminal prosecution, however, Trump was ousted from the White House in the 2020 election, which leaves him subject to the rule of law like anyone else.
However, a former president has unusual security protocols and the terms of any arrest will need to be made with the Secret Service.
This is uncharted territory for all concerned. Even US President Richard Nixon was pardoned before he could face the criminal justice system for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.
The average New York criminal case takes more than a year to go from indictment to trial, and Trump’s case is not typical.
Legal experts say any trial for the former US president is still more than a year away, and could coincide with the final months of the 2024 presidential campaign as Trump seeks to find a way. back to the White House.
What is Trump’s reaction?
Trump appeared to confirm rumors of his imminent arrest in a series of posts on his Truth Social account on Saturday.
Capitalizing all of them for emphasis, Trump begins in an apocalyptic tone, criticizing the “death” of the American dream; the depravity of “radical left-wing anarchists”; and the injustice of “patriots caught and imprisoned like animals.”
He then continued: “Now, illegal leaks from the corrupt and highly politically charged Manhattan District Attorney’s office… show that… the leading Republican candidate & former general. President of the United States of America, will be arrested next Tuesday.”
Trump called on supporters to take to the streets: “Protest, take back our country! It is the time now!!! We must save America! Objection, protest, protest!!!”
‘I’m back!’: Donald Trump returns to Facebook, Youtube after 2 years of embargo
Calls for a new wave of unrest – and the disturbing aftershock of January 6 – come as Trump recently restored access to his mainstream social media accounts, including both his YouTube account on March 17.
How would an arrest affect Trump’s White House dreams?
Some observers believe an indictment portends a bad chance for Trump in 2024, while others say it could provide a big boost.
Rick Wilson, a political strategist who abandoned the Republican Party to oppose Trump, wrote on Twitter: “The arrest warrants the nomination for Donald Trump. “The base will rally politically, and possibly physically.”
Tech billionaire Elon Musk, a self-described libertarian, increasingly supportive of Republican views and who overturned the Twitter ban on Trump, went even further. .
“If this happens, Trump will be re-elected in a landslide victory,” Musk wrote on Twitter.
Even a verdict in the hush money case won’t stop Trump from running for office, but an indictment could have major consequences, galvanizing his critics but also rattling his supporters. excited.
What is the Democratic response?
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Trump’s announcement as “reckless”, saying it would “incite unrest among his supporters.”
She insists that justice must work its way: “Whatever the grand jury decides, its deliberations are clear: no one is above the law, not even the former President. President of the United States.”
Pelosi, who was still the speaker when Trump was impeached for inciting the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol, added: “He can’t hide his violation of the law, disrespect for the laws of the United States. our elections and incite violence.”
How did the Republican Party react?
Republican House of Representatives Speaker Kevin McCarthy reacted angrily, accusing New York prosecutors of pursuing “political revenge” against Trump.
McCarthy announced on Twitter that he would launch a congressional investigation into the matter and said the impending arrest was “an outrageous abuse of power by a radical DA who has let criminals in Violence pervades as he pursues political revenge against President Trump.”
Mike Pence, who recently said Trump endangered the former vice president’s family on January 6, chose to echo the party line: Criticize the Manhattan district attorney and question his motives. .
Rudy Giuliani on Truth Social argues: “What the Democrats are doing to President Trump, they will do to you. They have destroyed the fair and equal justice system in the United States.”
Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona played a dubious prank on Truth, writing: “President Trump is well on his way to being prosecuted against any of the Biden family crooks. Think about that. We have a two-tier justice system.”
Also on Truth Social, Representative Ronny Jackson of Texas (former Trump White House doctor) criticized “Soros-owned DAs” for engaging in “revenge against conservatives” before appeared to support the overthrow of President Biden. “The country is falling apart. We need Trump back in power NOW!”
What other legal troubles does Trump face?
Trump is facing a number of criminal investigations at the state and federal levels over alleged misconduct that could threaten his new run for the White House.
In Georgia, a prosecutor is investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election defeat in the southern state. The grand jury in that case recommended multiple indictments, the foreman revealed last month.
The former president is also the subject of a federal investigation into his handling of classified documents as well as his possible involvement in the January 6 riots.
(With input from agencies)
Clock Former US President Donald Trump says he will be arrested next week