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Trump calls for rallies to protest his potential arrest

Former US President Donald Trump delivers remarks on education as he holds a campaign rally with supporters, in Davenport, Iowa, US, March 13, 2023. (Reuters photo)

Former US President Donald Trump has called on supporters to protest his potential arrest on Tuesday as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg appears to be close to deciding whether to charge him in the probe into a hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election.

Trump said in a post on Truth Social on Saturday that “illegal leaks” indicate that “the far & away leading Republican candidate & former president of the United States of America, will be arrested on Tuesday of next week.”

“Protest, take our nation back!” Trump continued.

A spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney's office, which has been investigating a $130,000 payment to Daniels, declined to comment, according to Reuters.

Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2024, has said he will continue campaigning even if he is charged with a crime.

Trump’s call comes as several recent signs appear to point to the grand jury Bragg organized being close to possibly filing charges against Trump.

Earlier this week, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified before the grand jury, and Daniels met with Manhattan prosecutors. With Cohen’s testimony, almost every major figure involved in the investigation has appeared before the grand jury.

Trump was also invited to testify before the grand jury this week, which is an indication that a verdict on charges is coming imminently. Trump has declined the offer.

Bragg’s inquiry centers on a $130,000 payment that Cohen allegedly made to Daniels in the leadup to the 2016 election for her to remain silent about an affair she had with Trump.

Meanwhile, Cohen pleaded guilty to a handful of charges in 2018, including one for a campaign finance violation related to the payment. He was sentenced to several years in prison but was later allowed to serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.

Cohen has said he paid Daniels at Trump’s direction and Trump reimbursed him for the payment.

The payment was made during Trump’s presidential campaign, raising speculation that Cohen used campaign funds to silence Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Cohen, however, insists that he paid her out of his own pocket and neither Trump nor his campaign reimbursed him afterward.

Daniels has sued both Trump and Cohen, accusing them of defamation. She also argues that the nondisclosure agreement between Cohen and her is invalid because Trump never signed it.

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