Donald Trump's attempt to keep key evidence out of his civil rape trial next month has been rejected by a judge, just days after the former US president claimed he was going to be “arrested on Tuesday” over another case.
The ex-White House president said in a post on his Truth Social network on Saturday (18 March) that “illegal leaks” from the Manhattan district attorney’s office indicate that “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK.” Trump urged his followers to protest.
Law enforcement officials in New York have been making security preparations for the possibility that Trump could be indicted. It comes as a prosecutor eyes charges in a case examining hush money paid to women who alleged sexual encounters with him.
There has been no public announcement of any time frame for the grand jury’s secret work in the case, including any potential vote on whether to indict the ex-president. Trump did not provide any details on social media about how he knew about the expected arrest.
What has Donald Trump said?
In his posts, he repeated incorrect claims that the 2020 presidential election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden was stolen, and urged his followers to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
That language evoked the message from the then-president that preceded the riot at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021. His post echoes one made last summer, when he broke the news on Truth Social that the FBI was searching his home as part of an investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents.
What has been happening with the grand jury?
The grand jury in Manhattan has been hearing from witnesses, including former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who says he orchestrated payments in 2016 to two women to silence them about sexual encounters they said they had with Trump a decade earlier. The former president denies the encounters occurred, says he did nothing wrong and has cast the investigation as a “witch hunt” by a Democratic prosecutor bent on sabotaging the Republican’s 2024 presidential campaign.
Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Trump’s company compensated Mr Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.
Mr Cohen has said that at Trump’s direction, he arranged payments totalling 280,000 dollars (£230,000) to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal. According to Mr Cohen, the payments were to buy their silence about Mr Trump, who was then in the thick of his first presidential campaign.
What else is happening in terms of legal proceedings against Trump this week?
There are a large number of other ongoing legal proceedings involving the former president. On Monday, Trump's attempt to keep key evidence out of his civil rape trial next month was rejected by federal judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan.
The judge ruled that misogynistic remarks Trump made in 2005 when he claims he did not realise he was being recorded can be played for a jury, which will hear rape allegations made by a former magazine columnist 25 years ago. He also ruled that two women who made sexual abuse claims in circumstances similar to those alleged by the plaintiff could give evidence at trial.
The trial, for a case filed by E Jean Carroll, is scheduled to start on 25 April. Both Carroll and Trump are expected to give evidence.
The columnist said in a 2019 memoir that she was raped by Trump in the mid-1990s in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman, an upmarket Manhattan department store. Trump has repeatedly insisted he never met her at the store, and that he did not know who she was.