Manhattan’s district attorney is warning his office about the increased threat of violence and vowing to protect law enforcement personnel after Donald Trump encouraged his fans to hit the streets in protest of what he says will be his arrest on Tuesday.
Alvin Bragg issued the private message to staff on Saturday, writing that his office would not “tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York”.
He continued: “Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office will be fully investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of us have a secure work environment.”
It was a statement that mirrored a similar warning that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued jointly last year, shortly after the August raid of the former president’s estate and resort at Mar-a-Lago. Mr Trump has long characterised any effort to investigate him for crimnal activity as a politicised effort to obstruct his presidential ambitions, and rallies Republicans against the Department of Justice for those efforts past and present.
The latest legal challenge to ensnare the former president in what appears to be an imminent criminal indictment is unrelated to either his battles with the National Archives over presidential records or his long and unsuccessful campaign to overturn the 2020 election, which resulted in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. A separate special counsel has been appointed by the DoJ to determine if Mr Trump will face any criminal charges at the federal level.
Instead the Bragg investigation relates to a 2016 matter: The hush payment, in the amount of $130,000, made by his then-attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen to an adult film star who claimed to have had an affair with Mr Trump in 2006. The former president has long denied the extramarital relationship.
Mr Trump is known to have reimbursed his attorney through what another member of his legal team, Rudy Giuliani, referred to as “funnel[ing]” through another law firm. Mr Cohen would go on to plead guilty to campaign finance violations over the payment, and lost his law license in the state of New York as punishment along with a fine and a three-year prison term.
The former president clearly attempted to reignite anger against the Manhattan district attorney in an all-caps Truth Social posting on Saturday announcing his expectation to be arrested on Tuesday and urging his supporters to protest.
“ILLEGAL LEAKS FROM A CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE … 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,” the former president “truthed” on Saturday.
He added: “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
Last year the FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a warning after Mr Trump ratched up his rhetoric against federal law enforcement. That warning came after an armed man was killed after trying to breach an FBI office in Cincinatti, Ohio.