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What happens now after jury convicts Donald Trump of all 34 counts in hush money case? Here’s what it means

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The verdict is in, and Donald Trump is the first former president in U.S. history to ever be convicted of a crime.

A New York jury found the ex-president and presumed Republican presidential nominee guilty of all 34 counts of falsifying business records and he will be sentenced on July 11.

Trump’s legal team is expected to appeal, but the unprecedented conviction sets off a process that all convicted criminals face within the Manhattan criminal court system. 

Despite his conviction, he can still run for president and is expected to furiously campaign before his expected rematch with President Joe Biden.

The judge has discretion when it comes to sentencing. So will he face jail or will he get probation? 

Donald Trump speaking to the media on May 30 as jury deliberations were set to start up again

Donald Trump speaking to the media on May 30 as jury deliberations were set to start up again

The probation office in the Manhattan criminal courthouse would begin preparing the pre-sentencing report for the judge which includes recommendations.

If Trump thought the ‘freezing’ courtroom was bad, the probation office is worse.

Located on the 10th floor of the Manhattan criminal courthouse, the New York City probation department is at the end of a long hallway through a set of double doors.

Depending on how one gets to it, visitors must walk past the sex offender registry office.

Inside, the drab reception area is situated with gray plastic chairs, tan walls, lime green colored trimming and stained tiled floors. Visitors stand about waiting to be called into the surrounding offices.

This process would include interviewing the former president for details about his history, mental health and circumstances around the conviction.

A sketch of Judge Juan Merchan during the hush money trial. Donald Trump's sentencing is at his discretion

A sketch of Judge Juan Merchan during the hush money trial. Donald Trump’s sentencing is at his discretion

Trump returning to the courtroom from a break as the jury began deliberations on May 29

Trump returning to the courtroom from a break as the jury began deliberations on May 29

‘Trump is getting a bird’s eye view of the criminal justice system from a very different perspective than he’s ever had,’ said Cheryl Bader, Fordham associate professor of law.

The prosecution and Trump’s defense team also have the opportunity to submit additional information to the judge for sentencing and probation.

‘Pre-sentence reports are required where the defendant faces jail time,’ said David Shapiro, a former assistant prosecutor and lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. ‘These reports must be completed before sentencing within a reasonable time period not to exceed in most cases one year.’

Falsifying business records in the first degree carries a maximum of four years in prison.

Theoretically, Trump could face 136 years in prison if given consecutive sentences on all charges.

But even before the verdict came down, legal experts suggested Trump was unlikely to face time behind bars.

Trump at 77-years-old has no prior convictions. The charges also involve a nonviolent offense.

New York law recommends no prison sentence for non-violent felonies where the defendant lacks any prior felony conviction in the last decade.

The more likely option, according to legal experts, is the ex-president could face probation or a steep fine. Both pose their own challenges for the former president.

The charge of falsifying a business record in the first degree carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison

The charge of falsifying a business record in the first degree carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison

Probation requirements depend on the case, but it could pose logistical challenges for Trump if he has to get permission to travel and faces reporting requirements as he ramps up his presidential campaign in battleground states.

While probation could mean Trump’s travel is limited, there is also the possibility he could check in with a probation officer by phone.

‘The probation officer also has the ability to sort of lessen the amount of supervision that is required if the individual has been compliant,’ Bader said.

Fines could also hinder the ex-president in another way as he is already facing staggering fines for committing civil fraud in New York and for the defamation of E Jean Carroll.

Donald Trump at his rally in Wildwood, NJ on May 11 while he was on a weekend break from the hush money trail

Donald Trump at his rally in Wildwood, NJ on May 11 while he was on a weekend break from the hush money trail

Meanwhile, because Trump as a former president and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he has another unique consideration officials need to contend with.

Trump has Secret Service protection. The agency has already reportedly been in discussions over how it would proceed in its charge to protect him should Trump actually be locked up.

Trump’s lawyers have already been able to stall the three other cases against him.

While New York law made it challenging to delay the hush money case, his team is expected to appeal the conviction.

‘After sentencing, the case is ripe for any appeal,’ said Bader. An appeal would go to the Appellate Division First Department.

While the case would make its way through New York criminal justice system, it appears the verdict will have little impact on voters.

A new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll of registered voters found 67 percent said it would not make a difference to their vote if Trump was found guilty in the hush money case.

15 percent said a guilty verdict would make them more likely to vote for him while 17 percent said it would make them less likely to vote for him come November.

Among Independent and Republican voters, a guilty verdict in the case was actually more likely than less likely to make them vote for Trump.



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