Donald Trump has warned of potential “death and destruction” if he is arrested as part of an investigation into an alleged hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels
The former US president's message, posted early on Friday on Truth Social, is a further escalation in his violent rhetoric around the continuing probe in New York.
His latest attack was aimed at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is leading the investigation into a 2016 payment made to silence adult film actress Daniels before the presidential election.
Mr Trump called the prosecutor a “degenerate psychopath that truely [sic] hates the USA”.
“Potential death and destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our country”, he said.
Congressional investigators last year recommended that Mr Trump be criminally charged for his role in inciting the deadly January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol. At least seven people died as a result of the attack.
Authorities in New York have been on standby since last weekend, when Mr Trump wrongly claimed he would be arrested on Tuesday.
He called for supporters to launch protests and “take our nation back”. But in liberal New York, these have mainly failed to materialise and it remains unclear if, or when, Mr Trump will face an indictment.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Mr Trump in 2006. He denies the affair and any role in buying her silence.
Mr Trump on Thursday called Mr Bragg an “animal” backed by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is at the centre of many far-right conspiracy theories.
He also shared a juxtaposition of two photos, one of him holding a baseball bat and the other of Mr Bragg. That post appeared later to have been deleted.
The district attorney has said that Mr Trump created a “false expectation” of his imminent arrest.
New York police have erected barricades outside Mr Bragg's office, Trump Tower and the Manhattan Criminal Court, where the former president would eventually appear if indicted.
A man was arrested on Friday after a package containing suspicious white powder was delivered to the building housing the district attorney's office, police said.
Fox News, citing an unnamed police source, said the envelope contained a note stating: “Alvin — I’ll kill you.”
There were no reports of injuries.
In a statement in Politico’s New York Playbook newsletter, civil rights leaders including Al Sharpton called Mr Trump’s comments an effort to “burn down the greatest values of our democracy and destroy honest, ethical officials performing their constitutional duties” to avoid accountability.
In a separate criminal investigation, Mr Trump's lawyer Evan Corcoran arrived at the federal courthouse in Washington on Friday to appear before a grand jury probing a possible obstruction of justice charge and whether classified documents were mishandled after the former president left office.