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Donald Trump Is Convicted on All 34 Counts

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Donald Trump is guilty on all 34 charges for falsifying business records.

On Thursday, a jury ruled that the former president is guilty, putting to end a six-week trial against Trump, who faced 34 counts related to falsifying business records.

The news is momentous, as Trump is now the first former president to be convicted of a crime in a court of law. He is also actively running for U.S. president again, and this judgment makes him a felon with more-than-decent odds of ending back up in the Oval Office.

“There’s no question that Trump will file an appeal–and he’ll be able to go after everything he and his attorneys are complaining about,” says Peter Pullano, a managing partner at Tully Rinckey. “Within the legal realm that the court would have–between now and sentencing day–there’ll be many days to talk about the legalities of the trial itself.”

As a refresh: Trump faced 34 counts of falsifying business records, which stems back to the $130,000 hush-money payment made to Stormy Daniels, a porn star who purportedly had sex with Trump. (Trump denies this account.)

Trump faced accusations of directing Michael Cohen, his lawyer at the time, to make the payment to Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election. Cohen then received monthly payments from the Trump Organization, framed as retainer fees for legal work, though Cohen, who later flipped on Trump, has said that those payments were in fact reimbursements.

Now that Trump is hit with a conviction, he could face time in prison. But that wouldn’t necessarily be the nail in his campaign’s coffin.

“Legally, I don’t think it bars the candidacy or the campaign,” says Pullano. “Factually, it would be up to the political parties and what they think they should do. This is new to everybody, but he can actually continue to campaign from a jail cell.”

Mind you, there’s nothing in the Constitution that bars a president from laying down the laws of the land behind bars. If there’s a felony conviction though, the irony, as Pullano points out, is that Trump would lose his right to vote in Florida. In other words, Trump wouldn’t be able to vote for himself in this election. Had he stayed in New York as a resident, that right would’ve been preserved.

Whether or not Trump will end up behind bars is another story. To start, it’s a massive security risk for the former president–and would tack on extraneous costs with the Secret Service personnel that would need to be on the premises to guarantee Trump’s safety.

“Because the case involves a former president, I don’t believe he’s going to receive jail time,” says Patricia Crouse, a professor of political science at New Haven University. “My best guess would be that he’s probably going to receive some sort of probation [and] there’s going to be some sort of fines involved.”

Even so, it’s all but certain the former president will attempt to challenge the ruling. He could move to set aside the decision, or outright appeal it–but he’d have to have grounds to do so. Trump can’t just appeal the decision because it’s not in his favor. His legal team would need to demonstrate that something during the trial was procedurally amuck.

In the backdrop of all of this is an incoming decision from the Supreme Court that would extend presidential immunity, which would shield presidents from criminal lawsuits.

Congress could potentially help out with that, though. If Republicans manage to recapture the House and take the Senate, Crouse adds there’s the possibility that they could propose legislation that grants any sitting or former president complete immunity from affairs like the one Trump finds himself in today.

The road to the Supreme Court is yet another factor here. The high court goes out of session in June, returning in October–just a month shy of the election.

While Trump is involved in other litigation, those separate cases are moving at a glacial pace and it’s unlikely that they’ll happen before voters go to the ballot boxes, Crouse says.

Sentencing is set to take place on July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention kicks off.

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