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Donald Trump convicted on all 34 charges in hush money trial: Will he go to jail, can he become US President?

Former US President Donald Trump has been convicted on all 34 charges in hush money trial. Now let's have a look at the crucial questions regarding Trump's jail and impact on forthcoming US elections.

Donald Trump convicted on all 34 charges in hush money trial: Will he go to jail, can he become US President? anr
First Published May 31, 2024, 9:47 AM IST

Donald Trump has become the first former US president to be convicted of a crime. He was found guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment to a porn star. Now, Trump is navigating the legal and political ramifications of this historic verdict. The sentencing and potential appeals mark the beginning of his legal journey, as he continues his presidential bid against Joe Biden in the upcoming election.

Will he end up serving prison time? Is he still eligible to run for president? Here's an in-depth look at the crucial questions surrounding Trump's conviction and its implications for his political future.

The next step is for Judge Juan Merchan to approve the verdict and enter a final judgment, a process that is usually a formality. Sentencing typically occurs within several weeks, but legal arguments can delay it. Lawyers from both sides will recommend sentences, which will be debated during the sentencing hearing, where Judge Merchan will make the final decision.

Will Trump be jailed?

That is improbable. Although four years in jail is the maximum term for fabricating business records, first-time offenders in New York rarely serve time behind bars. Since it is more logistically difficult to imprison a former president with a lifetime Secret Service detail, alternatives like house confinement or curfews could be explored. Punishments like fines or probation are more usual.

Is Trump able to appeal the conviction?

It is anticipated that Trump will file an appeal. He can contend that there were legal and political irregularities in the indictment. His defence would probably centre on several legal arguments, such as the illegality of the allegations themselves and the fact that federal elections are exempt from state election regulations.

Is it still possible for Trump to become president?

Yes, the US Constitution simply stipulates that presidents must be citizens of the United States by birth and have resided in the country for 14 years to be eligible to serve. It is technically possible for Trump to take the oath of office on January 20, 2025, even in jail.

Is Trump allowed to vote for himself?

Yes, Trump can vote for himself as long as he is not imprisoned in New York. Florida adheres to other states' regulations on felony disenfranchisement, and in New York, individuals regain their voting rights upon release from prison, even if they are on parole.

Could Trump's conviction impact his campaign?

While the conviction doesn't legally bar Trump from running for or assuming the presidency, it could still influence his campaign. The Republican National Convention, scheduled shortly after his sentencing, has no regulations disqualifying a convicted nominee. Despite this, Trump maintains popularity within the GOP base, and the party's leadership remains aligned with him.

What are the wider consequences of this conviction?

The conviction represents uncharted territory in US politics, particularly as Trump confronts three additional criminal cases. After deliberating for two days, the Manhattan jury found Trump guilty on all 34 counts. The trial featured explicit testimony and evidence implicating Trump in authorizing a $130,000 payment to silence Stormy Daniels during the 2016 campaign.

What are the subsequent legal and political steps for Trump?

Trump may file an appeal with higher courts after receiving his sentence. Citing apparent judicial prejudice and procedural issues, his defence team has already started laying the framework for an appeal. Trump is still gaining support politically by portraying the conviction as an attack with political motivations. Even with the legal hurdles, eminent strategists maintain that Trump is a strong contender for the 2024 race.

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