Former U.S. President Donald Trump says he believes he will be arrested on Tuesday (tomorrow U.S. time).
The arrest would be related to an investigation into whether he indirectly paid $130,000 in ‘hush money’ to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
So will Donald Trump be arrested? Here’s what you need to know.
Trump and the law
Trump is currently the subject of several investigations which could lead to criminal charges.
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating him on two separate matters – his role in the January 6 riots and his handling of sensitive government documents.
The case Trump says he will be arrested for this week is separate to those two cases. It is being conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney in New York and is relation to ‘hush money’.
The ‘hush money’
The Manhattan investigation relates to a $130,000 payment made on Trump’s behalf to his lawyer Michael Cohen in 2017.
The payment was recorded for business purposes as being for ‘legal expenses’, but it is alleged it was reimbursement for money Cohen had paid adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence on an alleged affair with Trump in 2006 (Trump denies the affair).
Hush money is not illegal, but falsifying business records is in New York. If it can be established this was the purpose of the money, Trump may have broken the law by falsifying a business record.
District Attorneys in the U.S. are government prosecutors who can investigate matters, lay charges and fight trials.
In some cases, including this one, they have to conduct their investigations in front of a ‘Grand Jury’ – a jury of ordinary people who decide whether there is enough evidence to lay charges.
Grand Juries take place in secret, so we don’t know for sure how advanced the Trump investigation is, but it’s widely reported that Cohen and other former Trump associates have testified, and Trump has been asked to do so.
If the Manhattan District Attorney decides to lay criminal charges against Trump, he would be legally required to attend a court hearing.
Typically, people in this position either hand themselves over to authorities or are arrested. Being arrested is not the same as being detained (held in jail while legal proceedings are taking place) or being imprisoned (held in jail because of a conviction).
If Trump is arrested, it would be the first time a former U.S. President has been charged with a crime.
In posts on his social media platform Truth Social, Trump encouraged his supporters to hold protests in the event of his arrest.
Several prominent Republican figures, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and former Vice President Mike Pence, have suggested the investigation and possible arrest are politically motivated.
The District Attorney leading the investigation, Alvin Bragg, has not confirmed whether Trump will be charged.