Donald Trump has warned that he expects to be arrested on Tuesday – an unprecedented move for a former US president – in a case involving a hush-buying payment for a porn actress.
The 76-year-old former president, who aspires to run for the White House in 2024, called on his supporters to protest, putting law enforcement on alert.
Here’s what to expect in the coming days:
Will he be charged?
Although New York State Attorney’s Office for the District of Manhattan, Alvin Bragg, has not confirmed that it plans to formally indict Trump, the former president’s announcement on Saturday is a sign to that effect. But there are others.
In the United States, prosecutors can present witnesses and evidence to a panel of citizens known as a grand jury, which decides whether charges are warranted.
Last week, Daniels cooperated with the grand jury in this case. Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who acknowledged making the payment to Daniels and said he was later reimbursed, also testified before the panel.
Trump was also invited to testify, though he declined.
"Prosecutors almost never invite the subject of investigation to testify before the grand jury unless they plan to indict that individual."explained Bennett Gershman, a professor of law at Pace University and a former prosecutor.
Fingerprints yes, wives unlikely
An impeachment by Trump would start a process that could last several months.
In the immediate term, it must be determined what the arrest, or more likely the handing over of Trump to the authorities, would look like, given the non-violent nature of the charges and the fact that he is a former president.
"This is unprecedented and there is no defined procedure"former US Secret Service agent Robert McDonald, now a professor of criminal justice at the University of New Haven, told AFP.
According to the expert, the Secret Service, in charge of protecting high-ranking dignitaries, will coordinate with Bragg’s office so that Trump appears in court without his arrival becoming a threat. "show".
Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti tweeted Saturday that he hopes Trump "voluntarily appear in court, be fingerprinted and searched, and released on bail".
Given Trump’s prominence and his ongoing 2024 presidential bid, the judge will likely not consider the former president a flight risk and Trump will be able to leave after arraignment, posting bail if necessary.
"I guess it won’t be held overnight"McDonald estimated.
But Trump some believe the former president could refuse to turn himself in, daring the Manhattan district attorney’s office to arrest him.
"One could imagine Trump wanting to do that."former prosecutor Shan Wu told AFP. "That’s something Bragg’s office would be dreading.".
Following Trump’s call on Saturday for his supporters to protest against a possible indictment against him, the authorities are on alert, given the violence that erupted on January 6, 2021, when pro-Trump protesters harangued by the then-president stormed into the United States Capitol seeking to stop the certification of his electoral defeat.
Now, law enforcement, from the FBI at the federal level, to the New York police at the state level, have been coordinating since last week with a view to a formal indictment of the former president, in order to avoid possible riots, reported CNN and NBC citing anonymous sources.
Pro-Trump groups are already mobilizing. The New York Young Republican Club is promoting Monday in Manhattan, where the court is located, a "peaceful protest over the heinous attack of Alvin Bragg" against Trump.
While authorities have given no indication that they expect violence near the courthouse, CNN cited unnamed sources as saying that law enforcement was evaluating the possibility of demonstrations by Trump supporters and opponents, with the risk of clashes.
Meanwhile, the Washington police department, scene of the riots at the US Capitol two years ago, said Sunday "not be aware of any" protest in the capital related to the possible impeachment of Trump.