Trump’s hush money conviction: What happens next

NEW YORK — Former President Trump’s hush money trial ended in a sweeping conviction, but his historic case is far from over.

As Trump vows to appeal, the proceedings will meanwhile move ahead toward sentencing on July 11 — just days before Trump is set to officially become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

“As far as the trial itself, it was very unfair,” Trump told reporters Friday, speaking from Trump Tower where, nearly a decade ago, the conspiracy underpinning his conviction was formed.

Before he returns to court to hear his punishment, expect a flurry of activity.

Trump could face probation officer

Prior to sentencing, felony defendants in New York are interviewed by a probation officer, who will develop a pre-sentence report that contains recommendations for the judge.

The process includes gathering Trump’s prior criminal history — which is none — employment history and economic status. If available, state law also requires the report to include findings about a defendant’s “physical and mental condition.”

Both sides are set to file their own memoranda with recommendations for the court to consider.

Under state law, Trump can also include as part of his submission “written statements by others in support of facts alleged in the memorandum.”

Trump and possible jail time

Merchan directed the defense to file any post-conviction motions by June 13, two weeks after the verdict. Prosecutors must respond by June 27, which is also the date of the first presidential debate between Trump and President Biden.

“We will speak in our court filings, as we’ve done throughout this proceeding,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) said on Thursday night when asked if he would seek jail time.

Trump’s legal team has already signaled they don’t believe the former president should be incarcerated, which would be a rare punishment for a first-time offender convicted on charges of falsifying business records in New York.

“There’s a system in place where you rely on precedent, and somebody like President Trump should never, never face a jail sentence based on this conduct,” Trump attorney Todd Blanche said during a Thursday interview with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

“And it would just kind of confirm what we’ve been saying all along,” he continued. “And a lot of people say that we’re wrong and that we’re missing key pieces. But if other 77-year-old, first-time offenders would never be sent to prison for this conduct.”

Trump echoed similar sentiments at his Friday press conference.

“I don’t feel 77, nobody ever says that about me,” Trump said. “I’d like them to say, ‘Gee, we have to have a little sorrow for this man.’”

“Because they don’t, they just don’t say that about me,” he continued. “But maybe I’m better off that way.”

Trump could still campaign, likely vote

The former president’s conviction does not prevent him from running for president again — or, from retaking the White House in November should he win the election. His sentencing date is scheduled only four days before the Republican National Convention, where he’ll be formally made the party’s nominee.

In the meantime, he is now longer tethered to the dingy courtroom in Manhattan four days a week. Trump throughout the trial complained it was preventing him from campaigning.

“I want to campaign,” Trump told reporters before entering the courtroom Thursday afternoon, only a few minutes before the jury sent word they had reached a verdict.

Despite his felony conviction on all 34 counts, Trump will likely still be able to cast a ballot for himself this fall.

Under Florida law, where Trump resides, felons convicted of a crime out of state are only made ineligible to vote if their conviction would bar them from voting in the state where they were convicted, according to the U.S. Vote Foundation. In New York, where Trump was convicted, felons can vote if they are on parole, probation or have fully completed their sentence.

Appeal imminent

Trump’s attorneys have also indicated that an appeal of the verdict is imminent. Will Scharf, an appellate attorney for Trump who is not formally on the hush money team, said Thursday that the former president’s legal team is “considering all options.” The attorneys expect to appeal “as quickly as we can” and ask for an expedited review of the case, he said.

It all follows a jury of 12 New Yorkers finding Trump guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records as he repaid his fixer, Michael Cohen, for paying off porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep her story of an alleged affair with the then-presidential candidate a decade prior secret before voters headed to the polls in 2016.

Prosecutors portrayed the payment as part of a broader scheme by Trump and his allies to stamp out bad press before Election Day, where Trump would ultimately cinch the nation’s highest office.

The jury returned its verdict after roughly 11 hours of deliberation, issuing 34 decisive “guilty” determinations read aloud back-to-back in the courtroom. Trump decried the verdict as “rigged” and “disgraceful.”

“The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here, and everybody knows what happened here,” Trump said outside the courtroom shortly after the verdict was read.

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