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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Reuters reporters

Donald Trump arrest in Stormy Daniels ‘hush money’ case could come as early as today – reports

Former US President Donald Trump. Photo: José Luis Villegas/AP

Former US President Donald Trump is expected to be indicted by a grand jury late Monday or on Wednesday in a hush payments case involving a porn star, according to reports.

Law enforcement officials were stepping up security around the Manhattan courthouse where the charges would be filed, with workers erecting new security fencing after Mr Trump over the weekend called on his supporters to protest any indictment.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office has been investigating a $130,000 hush payment made by Michael Cohen, Mr Trump's estranged former fixer, to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

A case would be a historic first as no current or former US president has ever been criminally charged. Trump is currently seeking the Republican nomination to run again in 2024.

Officials are meeting at New York Police Department headquarters to plan for the indictment, according to an unnamed person involved in the planning, Politico reported.

"We’ll be discussing how we bring Trump in," the person involved in the planning was quoted as saying. "No decisions have been made yet."

New York Mayor Eric Adams portrayed the preparations as routine.

"We’re doing what we always do," he told reporters on Monday. "We’re monitoring comments on social media, and the NYPD is doing their normal role of making sure there’s no inappropriate actions in the city, and we’re confident we’re going to be able to do that."

Mr Trump, whose supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, to overturn his 2020 election defeat, said on Saturday that he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and called for protests.

He said "illegal leaks" indicated an arrest on Tuesday, but provided no evidence, and his spokesman said Mr Trump had not been notified of any impending arrest.

Mr Bragg's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sources have said Mr Bragg's office has been presenting evidence to a grand jury about the payment, which came in the waning days of Mr Trump's 2016 campaign in exchange for Ms Daniels' silence about an affair she said she had with Mr Trump a decade earlier.

Mr Trump has denied the affair happened and called the investigation by Mr Bragg, a Democrat, a witch hunt.

A lawyer called to testify to the closed-door grand jury proceeding may challenge the claims of a key witness before, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday.

Robert Costello has been asked to appear before the grand jury at the request of Mr Trump's lawyers because he may have information that calls into question events as described by Cohen, Mr Trump's former lawyer, the source said.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations tied to his arranging payments to Ms Daniels and another woman in exchange for their silence about affairs they said they had had with Mr Trump, among other crimes. He has said Mr Trump directed him to make the payments. The US Attorney's office in Manhattan did not charge Mr Trump with a crime.

The New York probe is one of several legal inquiries Mr Trump faces. He is also confronting a state-level criminal probe in Georgia over efforts to overturn the 2020 results in that state.

A special counsel named by US Attorney General Merrick Garland is currently investigating Mr Trump's handling of classified government documents after leaving office, as well as his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, which he lost to President Joe Biden.

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