What Happens if Trump Is Convicted? Your Questions, Answered

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Discover the implications of Trump's potential conviction in the New York case, from his eligibility to run for President to the possibility of jail

Trump Awaits Jury Verdict in Hush-Money Trial: What’s Next?

 

What Happens if Trump Is Convicted Your Questions, Answered

As the Manhattan criminal trial of former President Donald Trump approaches its conclusion, a jury will soon deliver a verdict that could lead to unprecedented legal and political ramifications if Trump is convicted.

 

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election, is facing trial on 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records to conceal a $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. This case marks the first time a former U.S. president has been indicted. While Trump faces three other criminal cases, the New York trial will render the first verdict and may be the only one to conclude before the election.

 

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, testified that Trump personally approved the hush-money reimbursement plan central to the allegations. However, Cohen’s credibility is in question due to his history of lying and criminal behavior.

 

Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump falsified or caused business records to be falsified with the intent to commit or conceal another crime related to violating federal and state election laws.

 

Judge Juan Merchan expects closing arguments on May 28. Afterward, the jury will deliberate and render a verdict. If they cannot reach an agreement, a mistrial will be declared.

 

Regardless of the outcome, Trump is prepared to use the verdict to support his narrative of victimhood and political persecution. Campaigning under the shadow of a criminal conviction is unprecedented in presidential politics, raising complex legal questions if he wins the presidency in November.

 

Yes. A felony conviction does not disqualify Trump from continuing his presidential campaign, even if he is jailed. The Constitution requires only that presidential candidates be natural-born citizens, at least 35 years old, and U.S. residents for 14 years. Richard Hasen, an election law professor at UCLA, explains that there is no constitutional bar on a felon running for office. Historically, candidates like Eugene Debs and Lyndon LaRouche ran for president despite criminal convictions.

 

If convicted, Trump could face imprisonment, although most first-time offenders in non-violent cases are typically sentenced to probation and fines. Judge Merchan has the discretion to decide Trump’s sentence. The 34 charges are class E felonies, carrying a maximum sentence of four years each. It’s expected that any prison time would be served concurrently, with a maximum of four years.

 

Given Trump’s age, 77, lack of prior convictions, and unique status as a former president, legal experts suggest he is more likely to receive a fine and probation if convicted. Under probation, Trump could be jailed immediately for any additional crimes. Sentences less than a year are served at New York City’s Rikers Island, while longer sentences are served in state prisons.

 

A state crime conviction means Trump could not pardon himself if re-elected; only the New York governor could issue a pardon.

 

Yes. Trump would almost certainly appeal a conviction, a process that could take months or longer. The appeal would likely start in the Appellate Division in Manhattan and potentially reach the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals in Albany. This lengthy process is unlikely to conclude before the election.

 

Trump’s voting rights would only be affected if he were incarcerated at the time of the November election, which is unlikely given the anticipated appeal of any guilty verdict. New York law revokes a felon’s voting rights only while they are incarcerated. Therefore, if Trump is on probation or his appeal is pending, he would still be eligible to vote.

 

A conviction in the New York case would not directly affect Trump’s other criminal cases but could influence public perception and legal strategy. A guilty verdict might bolster the prosecution's stance in the other cases and impact jury perceptions and trial dynamics. Additionally, a conviction could affect Trump’s willingness to negotiate plea deals or settlements in his other cases and be considered by judges when determining sentencing.

 

Trump is facing 40 felony counts in Florida related to classified documents, four counts in Washington for alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and 13 felony counts in Georgia for alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election result in that state.

 

As the trial nears its end, all eyes are on the jury’s impending decision and the potential ripple effects across the legal and political landscape.


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Discover the implications of Trump's potential conviction in the New York case, from his eligibility to run for President to the possibility of jail
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