Donald Trump has lashed out at the “hellhole” of Manhattan after his supporters failed to turn up to protest his impending indictment in his native city.
The former president took to his Truth Social platform on Wednesday morning for his latest rant about Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg ’s investigation into his role in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election.
“The Rogue prosecutor, who is having a hard time with the Grand Jury, especially after the powerful testimony against him by Felon Cohen’s highly respected former lawyer, is attempting to build a case that has NEVER BEEN BROUGHT BEFORE AND ACTUALLY, CAN’T BE BROUGHT,” he wrote.
“If he spent this time, effort, and money on fighting VIOLENT CRIME, which is destroying NYC, our once beautiful and safe Manhattan, which has become an absolute HELLHOLE, would be a much better place to live!”
Mr Trump’s rant about the city comes as a panel of New Yorkers will soon decide his fate – voting on whether or not he will make history as the only former or current US president to ever be indicted on criminal charges.
Manhattan prosecutors have been investigating whether Mr Trump falsified the Trump Organization’s business records when Mr Trump’s former lawyer and “fixer” Michael Cohen made a payment of $130,0000 to Ms Daniels days before the 2016 election.
Prosecutors claim that the money was used to silence Ms Daniels about an alleged affair she had with Mr Trump.
Mr Trump has long denied having an affair with the adult film star.
Mr Trump’s former fixer and personal attorney Cohen was convicted of tax evasion, lying to Congress and campaign finance violations related to the payments to Ms Daniels. He was sentenced to three years in prison.
The former president has been seeking to rally his base to protest his upcoming potential indictment and arrest in recent days.
In a characteristic full-caps rant on Saturday, he claimed that he was expecting to be arrested on Tuesday and called on his supporters to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK”.
“NOW ILLEGAL LEAKS FROM A CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE, WHICH HAS ALLOWED NEW RECORDS TO BE SET IN VIOLENT CRIME & WHOSE LEADER IS FUNDED BY GEORGE SOROS, INDICATE THAT, WITH NO CRIME BEING ABLE TO BE PROVEN, & BASED ON AN OLD & FULLY DEBUNKED (BY NUMEROUS OTHER PROSECUTORS!) FAIRYTALE, 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!” he wrote on Truth Social.
His comments instantly drew comparisons to his rhetoric in the aftermath of his 2020 presidential election loss – rhetoric that ultimately culminated in the January 6 Capitol riots.
But on Tuesday only a handful of pro-Trump supporters showed up outside the Manhattan Criminal Court and there was no reports of violence.
The small group was outnumbered by counterprotesters in support of an indictment for the former president – a Manhattan native who achieved just over 12 per cent of the vote in his former home borough in the 2020 election.
Those demonstrators called for Mr Trump’s arrest, chanting: “No one is above the law.”
It was not the type of protest Mr Trump was likely hoping for.
Over the last few days, New York officials have been bracing for potential protests or unrest if or when an indictment lands.
Barricades have been erected round the Manhattan Criminal Court where Mr Trump could appear to face charges and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have been meeting to prepare security plans.
The grand jury had been expected to convene in Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon to hear from at least one more witness - but the hearing was reportedly cancelled just hours beforehand. As such, the indictment likely would not come until Friday (24 March) at the earliest.
If an indictment is handed down, the former president is not expected to appear in court until sometime next week after Mr Trump’s attorneys and the Secret Service make arrangements with prosecutors to turn himself in.
The investigation ramped up last week when Cohen and Ms Daniels both testified before the grand jury and Mr Trump was also invited to testify.
Though it was an invite he unsurprisingly turned down, it was a strong sign of an indictment on the way.
Then, on Monday, Mr Trump ally and Cohen foe Robert Costello gave testimony at the request of the former president’s team – in a bid to pick holes in the credibility of Cohen’s testimony.
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