The former leader could face charges as early as next week, multiple senior officials told US media
Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are reportedly discussing security preparations in the event former President Donald Trump is indicted on felony falsification charges sometime in the coming days, according to multiple media outlets citing anonymous officials.
The agencies are carrying out "preliminary security assessments" in and around a Manhattan courthouse to prepare for a possible indictment linked to an alleged "hush money" scheme involving a woman who claimed to have been intimate with the ex-president, five senior officials told NBC on Friday.
While the officials stressed that the discussions are "precautionary" given that no charges have been filed, they said preparations are being made for an indictment that could come as early as next week. Four law enforcement officials reached by the Associated Press confirmed the interagency conversations, which they said involve "security, planning and the practicalities of a potential court appearance" by Trump.
The agencies discussing security preparations reportedly include the New York Police Department, New York State Court Officers, the US Secret Service, the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Manhattan DA's Office.
The Secret Service will eventually determine whether Trump is handcuffed in the event he is charged, according to a "source in the courts" cited by Fox News.
The former leader is under a grand jury investigation launched by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office over the alleged felony falsification of business records, and is accused of arranging a payment of $130,000 to adult film actress Stormy Daniels through his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen. Daniels claims she was paid during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep quiet about alleged sexual encounters with Trump in the past, though he denies such liaisons ever took place.
Trump's attorney, Joe Tacopina, said on Friday that if the ex-president is charged, he will "follow the normal procedures," but has insisted on his client's innocence.
"There won't be a standoff at Mar-a-Lago with Secret Service and the Manhattan DA's office," Tacopina told the Daily News.
"The payments were made to a lawyer, not to Stormy Daniels. The payments were made to Donald Trump's lawyer, which would be considered legal fees," he said during a separate interview with MSNBC earlier this week, adding that Cohen "was his lawyer at the time and advised him that this was the proper way to do this to protect himself and his family from embarrassment. It's as simple as that. That is not a crime."
Cohen pleaded guilty to a federal charge related to the payment in 2018, and has since cooperated with the investigation into Trump after a public falling out with his former boss. He has provided hours of testimony before the grand jury probing Trump on the alleged felony charge, appearing for a second time on Wednesday.