What’s next for Donald Trump after his guilty verdict?

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After more than nine hours of deliberations, a jury of Donald Trump’s peers found him guilty Thursday of 34 felonies for covering up “hush money” paid in the run-up to the 2016 election to buy silence. from a porn movie. Actor who alleged an extramarital encounter.

The presumptive Republican nominee was subject to largely the same legal procedures as any criminal defendant in Manhattan, but his conviction is unlike any other in American history and raises a host of legal and political questions unprecedented before the November elections.

This is what could happen next.

Will Trump be imprisoned?

Probably not. The “falsification of business records” crimes for which Trump was convicted are the lowest-level crimes in the New York state system and carry a maximum prison sentence of four years. It is unusual for a first-time offender with no criminal record to be jailed for a non-violent countable offense, especially at Trump’s age (77).

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who brought the case, avoided suggesting he would seek to lock up Trump, saying his office would “speak through his filings” and at the sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for July 11. .

Judge Juan Merchán could impose a host of other punishments, including probation and financial sanctions. When selecting the appropriate sanction, Merchan could also “take into account the defendant’s behavior throughout the trial,” according to former Manhattan prosecutor Tanisha Palvia, and the fact that he repeatedly violated a gag order imposed by the court by attacking witnesses and jurors.

Can a convicted felon run for president?

There is nothing in the United States Constitution that prevents a criminal from running for federal office. An attempt in the state of Colorado to ban Trump from appearing on the ballot on the grounds that he fueled an insurrection was also thwarted by the Supreme Court earlier this year, which ruled it was a matter for Congress.

However, problems could arise if Trump receives a prison sentence and then defeats President Joe Biden in November. While this would not present a constitutional crisis per se, “the logic of the Constitution” would dictate that the sentence be suspended until Trump leaves office, said Alex Reinert, a criminal law professor at Cardozo Law School. “Everyone would agree that a president cannot fulfill his constitutional obligations if he is sitting in a prison cell.”

Can a convicted felon vote?

That depends on the state in which they were convicted and whether they are incarcerated. Under New York law, Trump would not lose his right to vote unless he was sent to prison, and even then, he would be free to vote before or after serving his sentence.

Trump can even vote in his home state of Florida, which strips convicted felons of their right to vote, but not those convicted in states where that right remains intact.

Can Trump appeal?

Yes. “If (Trump’s lawyers) get paid, they will file a motion to overturn the verdict,” said Catherine Christian, who spent more than 30 years in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. That motion will likely be denied, but the former president can then petition New York’s intermediate appeals court, and then its highest court, the Court of Appeals, on several grounds, including the admissibility of Trump’s mediator’s testimony. , Michael Cohen, a convicted perjurer.

The former president is likely to focus on the fact that this is “a case of first impression,” Christian added, stressing that the crime of falsifying business records “has never been charged (in this way) before,” linking a minor procedural crime. in a broader violation of electoral law.

Trump’s team may also focus on a potential weakness in prosecutors’ case: allowing jurors to choose between three possible underlying crimes that the former president allegedly conspired to cover up, without having to reveal which one, Palvia said. “If an appeals court were to hold that one of those underlying theories – just one – does not actually constitute a culpable offense. . . then the whole verdict could fall,” he said.

The appeal process will take months and is unlikely to be concluded before the election.

Could Trump pardon himself if he becomes president?

No, since the “hush money” case was brought by state prosecutors, not federal prosecutors. The power to pardon New York state crimes rests with New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat whose term ends in 2027. Her statement following the verdict did not suggest she was considering clemency; She said that she “reaffirmed that no one is above the law.”

What about his other criminal cases?

Trump faces two election interference cases, one state and one federal, for his alleged attempt to thwart the outcome of the 2020 election, and separate federal charges for his alleged withholding of classified documents.

It appears unlikely that any will go to trial before the election, as Trump’s legal team successfully delayed them through a series of motions and appeals. However, his conviction in New York leaves other judges with more leeway to schedule a trial before Election Day if they choose, without worrying about clashing with Manhattan proceedings.

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