8 Pressing Questions About What Happens N After Trump’s Conviction

Former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 charges in his hush money trial on Thursday after a jury of 12 New Yorkers unanimously agreed he had falsified business records to cover up allegations of a sexual encounter with porn star Stormy Daniels.

The verdict makes Trump the first president in U.S. history to be declared a felon, which is historic on its own but is also unprecedented as he is currently running for reelection as the presumptive Republican nominee.

Judge Juan Merchan of the New York state Supreme Court set a sentencing hearing for July 11, just four days before the Republican National Convention begins.

So what’s next for Trump and the GOP?

Will Trump go to jail before the convention?

Trump’s sentencing is set for July 11, just four days before Republicans are set to convene in Milwaukee to select the party’s nominee for president. All 34 charges are Class E felonies, the lowest class in New York, and are each punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to four years in prison.

Judge Juan Merchan will decide what punishment to impose and will take Trump’s history into account. That could work in his favor as he has not been convicted of a crime before. Options besides jail include probation or a fine. And those punishments could be delayed until the former president has exhausted all of his appeals, a lengthy process that could end up at the Supreme Court.

"I did my job. Our job is to follow the facts and the law without fear or favor," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told reporters Thursday.
“I did my job. Our job is to follow the facts and the law without fear or favor,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told reporters Thursday.

Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg did not respond to a reporter’s question on Thursday about if his office plans to seek prison time.

“The judge has scheduled a sentencing for July 11,” Bragg said. “We will speak in court in that time. He also set a motion schedule. We will speak in our court filings as we’ve done throughout this proceeding.”

Trump is certain to appeal his conviction.

Can he still run for president?

Yes. There are only a few requirements to be eligible for president ― to be at least 35 and a natural-born citizen and to have lived in the United States at least 14 years.

A criminal record does not preclude candidacy on a federal level.

Can Trump even vote in November?

He will most likely be able to cast a ballot, but it could depend on his sentence. Trump is a resident of Florida, which restricts the voting rights of anyone convicted of a felony until they complete their full sentence, including parole or probation, and pay off any fines or fees. But the state defers to the jurisdiction where a person was convicted to determine their eligibility, according to Election Law Blog.

“A felony conviction in another state makes a person ineligible to vote in Florida only if the conviction would make the person ineligible to vote in the state where the person was convicted,” Florida’s Department of State writes on its website.

New York only disenfranchises those who are convicted of felonies and are incarcerated at the time. Once they are released, even on parole, they are able to vote.

Trump wouldn’t be allowed to own a gun or serve on a jury.

If he does face jail time, where would Trump serve it?

It’s another complicated question and one that has never been dealt with before.

If Trump is forced to serve time behind bars, a Secret Service detail would have to go with him. The agency has already been game-planning for what that would look like, but keeping the former president safe in New York’s notorious penal system presents a fierce challenge: The New York Times notes he would need to be kept from other inmates and have his food and personal items screened for safety.

He could be held in a facility that has been closed or is partially empty so he and his protective detail could be housed safely. For normal defendants, a sentence of less than a year is often served on Rikers Island, while those longer would be served at one of the 44 prisons run by the state’s Department of Corrections.

A spokesperson for the New York City jail agency told the Times recently that it would find “appropriate housing” if the need arose.

Even if elected, he couldn’t pardon himself out of it.

If Trump wins the White House in November, he’s almost certain to try to direct the Justice Department to dismiss the two federal indictments against him: the case related to his handling of classified documents he took from the White House and another over his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.

But state crimes cannot be dismissed with a presidential pardon. Only the governor of New York is able to do so.

A flag featuring a portrait of Donald Trump is carried Thursday amid a group of Trump supporters near Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
A flag featuring a portrait of Donald Trump is carried Thursday amid a group of Trump supporters near Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

Alon Skuy via Getty Images

What about the gag order?

Merchan will likely remove it soon, giving Trump nearly free rein to speak about the case in public and on social media. The judge had barred the former president from attacking Merchan’s family members, court staff or potential witnesses in the case, but now Trump is almost certain to resume his barrage of fury.

Even while under a gag order, Trump violated it 10 times and faced penalties.

Reuters noted that a March 7 protective order — which prevents Trump or his lawyers from disclosing the names, addresses or other identifying information of jurors — could be left in effect.

Will Republicans care about the verdict?

For lawmakers, so far, no.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) called the conviction a “shameful day in American history,” saying the charges were “ridiculous” and a purely political attack.

“The weaponization of our justice system has been a hallmark of the Biden Administration, and the decision today is further evidence that Democrats will stop at nothing to silence dissent and crush their political opponents,” he wrote on social media.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), the second-highest Republican in the chamber, also lambasted the news, saying U.S. courts were now operating like a “banana republic.”

Others in the GOP have vowed to leverage the conviction to unite the party’s base going into the national convention and then the general election. Donors had already poured millions of dollars into the Trump campaign in the hours after the verdict came through.

What does this mean for the presidential election?

Trump’s historical vice grip on the party means the conviction could further galvanize his strong base of supporters. But recent polling also suggests that some likely voters could reconsider their votes in the face of a guilty verdict. And a majority of Americans are not as supportive of Trump’s claims that he has been the subject of unfair persecution.

Pollster Nate Silver notes it will be particularly interesting to see how voters who are relatively inattentive to the daily ebb and flow of the news will shift in the coming months and if voting for a convicted felon could raise some personal concerns.

Regardless, the verdict will become a constant flashpoint as the race between Trump and President Joe Biden continues.

What other questions do you have about Trump’s conviction and upcoming sentencing? Let us know in the comments.

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