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Is Trump going to prison? What to know about the possible sentence after his conviction

Washington- Former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all charges at his “hush money” trial in New York on Thursday, and the judge will soon determine whether a former president should be jailed for the first time for a crime.

Trump was found guilty of falsify business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels to buy her silence before the 2016 presidential election. The jury in Manhattan delivered his guilty verdict after a six-week trial that included more than 20 witnesses.

Each of the 34 criminal charges carries a $5,000 fine and up to four years in prison. But whether Trump will go to prison is another question — one that depends on the judge when sentencing.

When will Trump be convicted?

The judge set a sentencing date for July 11 following the jury’s verdict Thursday.

The timeline is consistent with similar white-collar crime cases, where sentencing often occurs between three and eight weeks after sentencing, according to Dan Horwitz, a defense attorney who previously prosecuted white-collar cases for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The sentencing will take place four days before the start of the Republican National Convention.

What to expect from sentencing

The minimum sentence for first-degree falsification of business records is zero, so Trump could receive probation or parole, no prison time or up to four years for each offense. Trump would likely be ordered to serve prison time concurrently on each count, up to four years in total.

“The judge could sentence him to between zero and the maximum,” Horwitz said. “So he could sentence him to a period of months in prison, he could sentence him to a period of several weeks in prison, he could sentence him to a sentence where he would be obliged, for example, to go to prison every weekend- end for a period of time, then serve the remainder of the sentence on probation.”

In an analysis of comparable cases brought by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Norm Eisen, who wrote a book on Trump’s federal indictment related to the 2020 election and served as special counsel in the first impeachment of the former president, found that about 10% of cases resulted in Trump’s impeachment. in prison. But the circumstances of the case make any overall comparison difficult.

Trump could also be sentenced to house arrest, where he would wear an ankle bracelet and be monitored rather than going to prison. Horwitz suggested that a sentence of home detention, which is halfway between no punishment and a stay in state prison, might be the most likely outcome. It would also respond to Trump’s unusual security and political situation.

A house arrest sentence would also allow Trump to continue his campaign – albeit virtually – with the ability to hold press conferences and remain active on social media. Throughout the trial, Judge Juan Merchan stressed the importance of allowing Trump to campaign and exercise his First Amendment rights as he seeks another term in the White House. But this is only part of the equation that the judge must take into account in his decision.

What will the judge consider when sentencing Trump?

There are a number of factors the court may consider in determining punishment, including the nature and extent of the conduct, who was injured, whether there were victims, and whether responsibility was accepted. , Horwitz said. Trump has repeatedly denied any culpability in the matter.

“Courts will credit a defendant who pleads guilty by accepting responsibility for his conduct, as opposed to not accepting responsibility before trial and being found guilty,” Horwitz added, arguing that “punishment after a trial because you have not accepted the responsibility is heavier.” stricter than it would otherwise have been. »

A defendant’s conduct during trial may also play a role, so Trump’s repeated violation of Merchan’s rules gag order may be an important factor in his conviction. During the trial, Trump was accused more than a dozen times of violating a silence order preventing him from making public comments about likely witnesses, jurors, attorneys and court personnel involved in the affair.

Trump’s conviction could also be complicated by the lifetime Secret Service protection he enjoys as a former president. The issue was raised during the trial, when the judge found Trump in contempt violate a gag order. Although Trump was fined several times, the judge said jailing him was “the last thing I wanted to do” because it would have disrupted the trial and presented challenges for Secret Service agents charged with protecting the former president.

“Today’s outcome has no bearing on how the United States Secret Service carries out its protective mission,” the Secret Service said in a statement provided to CBS News after the verdict. “Our security measures will remain unchanged.”

Imprisoning Trump would likely require a rotation of Secret Service agents, and he would have to be isolated from other detainees. The former president’s food and personal belongings would likely need to be screened for his protection, among other logistical considerations.

“For all contexts around the world, we study locations and develop comprehensive, multi-layered protection models that integrate cutting-edge technology, protective intelligence and advanced security tactics to protect our protectees,” said Anthony Guglielmi , chief of communications for the Secret Service. The verdict.

No American prison has ever faced the possible incarceration of a former president. Horwitz said there are mechanisms for pretrial detainees in the state’s correctional facilities and prisons, but it remains to be seen how the process will actually work.

After Trump’s conviction on Thursday, the Secret Service said in a new statement that “today’s outcome has no impact on how the United States Secret Service carries out its protective mission. Our security measures will remain unchanged “.

Where could Trump be imprisoned?

If Trump were sentenced to a period of house arrest, the former president could carry out his sentence outside of New York, such as at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where New York State would coordinate with the Florida Department of Probation, which would monitor Trump’s confinement, Horwitz said.

In the event Trump is sentenced to prison, the location would depend on the length of his sentence.

If Trump faces more than a year in prison, New York law requires his sentence to be served in a New York correctional facility. But if his sentence is less than a year, it will be served in a New York City correctional facility, such as Rikers Island.

What happens next?

Trump could seek to stay the execution of any sentence pending appeal, meaning he would not have to begin serving his sentence until an appeals court has issued a ruling, which which is not uncommon in white-collar cases in New York’s federal courts, Horwitz said. The move could delay any prison time until the election – or even beyond.

Regardless, while a possible prison sentence raises some hurdles for Trump’s presidential campaign, his conviction doesn’t stop him from continuing to run, even if he’s behind bars.

Olivia Rinaldi and Jake Rosen contributed reporting.

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