Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Conviction, Sentencing, and Campaign Futures

By Vaseline May31,2024

Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 crimes marks the end of the former president’s historic hush-money trial, but the battle over the case is far from over.

Now comes the sentencing and the prospect of a prison sentence. A lengthy appeal procedure. And all the while, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is still dealing with three more criminal cases and a campaign that could return him to the White House.

The Manhattan jury found Trump guilty of falsifying company records after more than nine hours of deliberations over two days in the case stemming from a hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump angrily denounced the trial as a “disgrace ” and told reporters that he was an “innocent man.” Some key takeaways from the jury’s decision: PRISON TIME? The big question now is whether Trump can go to prison. The answer is uncertain. Judge Juan M. Merchan set sentencing for July 11, just days before Republicans formally nominated him for president. The charge of falsifying corporate records is a Class E felony in New York, the lowest level of misdemeanor charges in the state. It carries a prison sentence of up to four years, although the sentence will ultimately be up to the judge and there is no guarantee he will give Trump time-barred orders.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg declined to say whether prosecutors would seek prison time. It is unclear to what extent the judge can take into account the political and logistical complexities of jailing a former president who is running to win back the White House. Other penalties may include a fine or probation. And it’s possible the judge could allow Trump to avoid serving any sentence until he exhausts his appeal. Trump faces the threat of harsher prison sentences in the three other cases he faces, but those cases have been stalled by appeals and other legal battles, making it unclear whether any of them will go to trial before the November election .

WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE ELECTION The conviction will not prevent Trump from continuing his campaign or becoming president. And he can still vote for himself in his home state of Florida, as long as he stays out of jail in New York state. Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who co-chairs the Republican National Committee, said in an interview with Fox News Channel on Thursday that Trump would host virtual rallies and campaign events if he is sentenced to house arrest. In a deeply divided America, it is unclear whether Trump’s once-unimaginable criminal conviction will have any impact on the election at all.

Leading strategists from both parties believe Trump is still well positioned to defeat Biden, even as he now faces the prospect of prison time and three separate criminal cases still open. In the short term, at least, there were immediate signs that the guilty verdict helped unite the Republican Party’s disparate factions, as GOP officials from across the political spectrum rallied behind their embattled presumptive presidential nominee and his campaign was expected to benefit of a flood of fundraising. dollars.

There has been some polling on the prospect of a guilty verdict, although such hypothetical scenarios are notoriously difficult to predict. A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll found that only 4 percent of Trump supporters said they would withdraw their support if he is convicted of a crime, while another 16 percent said they would reconsider.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR APPEAL After Trump is convicted, he can challenge his conviction in a division of state appellate court and possibly in the state’s highest court. Trump’s lawyers have already laid the groundwork for appeals with objections to the charges and rulings during the trial.

The defense has accused the judge of bias, citing his daughter’s work as leader of a company whose clients include President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and other Democrats. The judge refused the defense’s request to remove himself from the case, saying he was confident in his “ability to be fair and impartial.”

Trump’s lawyers can also challenge on appeal the judge’s ruling that limits the testimony of a potential expert witness. The defense wanted to call Bradley Smith, a Republican law professor who served on the Federal Election Commission, to refute the prosecution’s claim that the hush money payments amounted to campaign finance violations.

But the defense ultimately did not let him testify after the judge ruled that he could provide general background on the FEC but could not interpret how federal campaign finance laws apply to the facts of Trump’s case or provide an opinion on whether Trump’s alleged actions violate those laws. There are often guardrails around expert testimony on legal issues, on the grounds that it is up to a judge – not an expert hired by one side or the other – to instruct jurors on applicable laws.

The defense could also argue that jurors were improperly allowed to hear sometimes explicit testimony from porn actor Stormy Daniels about her alleged sexual encounter with him in 2006. The defense unsuccessfully pushed for a mistrial because of the tawdry details prosecutors extracted from Daniels. Attorney Todd Blanche argued that Daniels’ description of a power imbalance vis-à-vis the older, taller Trump was a “dog whistle for rape,” irrelevant to the charges at hand, and “the kind of testimony that makes it impossible to come back from.” .

A LITTLE DEFENSE The speed with which the jury deliberated on the 34 points suggests that they were hardly influenced by Trump’s defense. The former president’s lawyers called just two witnesses in a sparse defense case, including attorney and former federal prosecutor Robert Costello. The defense tried to use Costello to discredit prosecutors’ star witness, Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer-turned-adversary who directly implicated Trump in the hush money scheme. But the move may have had a devastating effect, as it opened the door for prosecutors to question Costello about an alleged pressure campaign aimed at keeping Cohen loyal to Trump after the FBI raided Cohen’s properties in April 2018.

While Costello supported the defense by testifying that Cohen denied to him that Trump knew anything about the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels, Costello had few answers when the prosecution confronted him about emails he sent to Cohen in which he repeatedly ties to Trump ally Rudy Giuliani. In one email, Costello told Cohen: “Sleep well tonight. you have friends in high places,” and said there were “some very positive comments about you from the White House.” Cohen remained largely calm on the witness stand despite the defense’s heated cross-examination. The combative Costello, on the other hand, irritated the judge – sometimes in full view of the jury – but continued to speak after objections and rolled his eyes. At one point, after sending the jury out of the room, the judge became irate when he said Costello was staring at him.

Merchan then briefly cleared the courtroom of reporters and berated Costello, warning that if he acted again he would be removed from the courtroom.

Laying the Groundwork for a Loss While Trump and his campaign exuded confidence, they also spent weeks trying to undermine the case in anticipation of a possible conviction. He repeatedly called the entire system “rigged” — a term he similarly used to falsely describe the 2020 election he lost to President Joe Biden. nun and saint. Trump has criticized the judge, insulted Bragg and complained about members of the prosecution team, while trying to portray the case as nothing more than a politically motivated witch hunt.

He has also complained that a gag order prevented him from speaking about aspects of the case, but he chose not to take that position. Rather than testifying in the case — and subjecting himself to the inherent risks of perjury and cross-examination, Trump has focused on the court of public opinion and the voters who will ultimately decide his fate.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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