It resembled the rhetoric before the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when Donald Trump called his supporters to the barricades early Saturday morning. "I will be arrested next week Tuesday. Protest, take back our nation!" he wrote in capital letters on his Truth Social network. The "corrupt and highly political" Manhattan prosecutor's office is after him despite the lack of evidence and his innocence. The case was a "fairy tale".

Sofia Dreisbach

North American political correspondent based in Washington.

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The former American president is likely to have been startled by media reports that law enforcement authorities are preparing for a possible indictment of Trump and the resulting protests. On Friday, however, one of his lawyers had assured that should it come to that, Trump would "follow the normal procedure".

But what is the alleged arrest supposed to be about? Trump did not mention this in his post. The case dates back to 2016. Trump was in the final stages of the presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton. There was still a month until the election, when Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen – according to his own statement on his behalf – paid $ 130,000 in hush money to Stormy Daniels. The actress was not supposed to talk about an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006, a few months after his wife Melanie gave birth to son Barron. Trump himself denies both the money order and sex with Daniels.

Trump is likely to get around the "Perp Walk"

Cohen, however, pleaded guilty in 2018 in a Manhattan court to multiple hush money charges. He stated that he had entered into a non-disclosure agreement with Daniels in October 2018, processed the payment through a letterbox company founded for this purpose and later declared it as campaign expenses. Cohen also admitted to arranging $150,000 in hush money for former Playboy model Karen McDougal that same year. The fact that she also did not report an affair with Trump was ensured by an agreement with the tabloid "National Enquirer", which acquired the rights to the story with the intention of sweeping it under the carpet.

If Trump is actually charged in this case, the procedure could follow the usual pattern in sensational cases: The lawyers usually inform the person concerned about the indictment – unless the information has already been leaked. They also make an appointment with the prosecutor's office for the usual steps: a photo, a DNA sample, and fingerprints. Then, in most cases, it comes to the "perp walk" typical of American law enforcement agencies, especially in New York: The defendants are publicly led in handcuffs to the indictment – a step that is considered very unlikely in the case of Trump.

The court could instead send him a subpoena instructing him to appear at the hearing. At the formal indictment, Trump would be informed of the charges, his lawyers would most likely plead "not guilty". He would continue to be accompanied at every turn by Secret Service employees.

In the event that it should come to an indictment, Trump had last built on Thursday. He was "completely innocent" and had "done nothing wrong," he wrote on Truth Social. The whole case is a witch hunt against him by the "radical left Democrat prosecutor" Alvin Bragg.