Reports indicate the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is gearing up for a potential indictment against former President Donald Trump in connection with a hush money payment he allegedly made to adult film star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election.
Although Trump himself predicted that he might be arrested this week, as of this writing there has been no such development.
That has not stopped his most vocal critics from speculating about the possibility that he will face criminal charges — and without legitimate footage of his arrest, some social media users are resorting to the next best thing.
A selection of photos created by artificial intelligence appear to show Trump being hauled off by police, and at least some people are apparently falling for the fake images.
Chilling deepfakes claiming to show Trump’s arrest spread across Twitter https://t.co/qqGgQbgdBX pic.twitter.com/fswlaAKd43
— New York Post (@nypost) March 22, 2023
Some of the images were apparently created by Eliot Higgins, the founder of an investigative organization called Bellingcat, who tweeted that he used the AI program Midjourney to generate them.
“Making pictures of Trump getting arrested while waiting for Trump’s arrest,” he wrote.
Higgins explained that he used the text prompt “Donald Trump falling over while getting arrested. Fibonacci Spiral. News footage.”
As with other AI-generated images, the photos appear convincing at first glance but several key details reveal that they are not authentic.
“The Trump arrest image was really just casually showing both how good and bad Midjourney was at rendering real scenes, like the first image has Trump with three legs and a police belt,” Higgins added.
For that reason, he said he was surprised that so many people apparently accepted them at face value.
“I had assumed that people would realize Donald Trump has two legs, not three, but that appears not to have stopped some people passing them off as genuine, which highlights that lack of critical thinking skills in our educational system,” he said.
Others joined in the pursuit, creating images of Trump behind bars and in court. For good measure, several fake images also surfaced that showed prominent Democrats like President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton being taken into police custody.
A grand jury reportedly reconvened on Thursday to continue assessing the case to determine whether Trump will face an indictment.