Here's What Trump Could Be Sentenced To

Experts think prison is unlikely, but probation or home confinement are possibilities
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2024 3:25 AM CDT
Updated May 31, 2024 5:33 AM CDT
Here's What Trump Could Be Sentenced To
Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 21, 2024 in New York.   (Michael M. Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

Donald Trump may be the first former president ever to be convicted as a felon, but experts don't seem to think it's too likely he'll be spending any time behind bars when he's sentenced July 11. As CBS News reports in its explainer, Trump could receive anything from probation or conditional discharge to four years behind bars. Also a possibility: home detention, which one expert finds a lot more likely than a prison sentence. In one analysis of cases similar to Trump's in Manhattan, about 10% ended with prison sentences.

  • If he is sentenced to jail, when would he serve? It's very possible any sentence will be stayed until appeals play out, which could be well after the presidential election.
  • If he's sentenced to probation, what does that look like? The Washington Post covers this in its explainer, noting that if Trump ends up with a probation officer, it could put a damper on his campaigning (he would need to clear any out-of-state travel in advance, for example). One expert says the situation would be "super awkward for someone on the campaign trail, but not impossible."

  • What about other possible sentences? Home confinement would also, of course, make campaigning difficult—but as one expert points out, he could still hold press conferences every day if he wanted to, and appear at rallies remotely. If he is sentenced to something as minimal as conditional discharge, he'd simply be discharged with requirements like not committing another crime, undergoing counseling, carrying out community service, or paying a legal penalty.
  • Can he still serve as president if he's elected? Yep. As CNN, Politico, the New York Times, and a plethora of other outlets explain, the only requirements for a presidential candidate are that they are at least 35 years old, a natural-born US citizen, and a resident of the US for at least 14 years. The more complicated question is whether he, as a convicted felon, will be allowed to vote for himself, and it seems the answer to that is also most likely yes.
  • Is the DA even planning to seek jail time? Alvin Bragg was asked about that directly and declined to comment, saying prosecutors would speak through court filings in the coming weeks.
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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