Donald Trump Was Found Guilty. What’s Next?

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Donald Trump Was Found Guilty. What’s Next?Justin Lane - Getty Images

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Former president Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president this year, was convicted by a New York court on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a $130,000 hush-money payment to ex-porn star Stormy Daniels.

After becoming the first president to face criminal charges, Trump is now the first former president to be a convicted felon. What does that felony status mean for Trump's 2024 presidential campaign, and everything else to come this year? Let's break it down:

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Can he still run for president?

Yes. There's no legal prohibition on running for president as a convicted felon, or serving as president as one. The U.S. Constitution has just three requirements for presidential candidates: be a natural born citizen; be at least 35 years old; have been a U.S. resident for at least 14 years.

He may not be able to vote for president, however: Florida, where Trump is a registered voter, requires felons to complete their full sentence (including probation, or jail time and parole) before getting voting rights back. With Election Day just 117 days after his sentencing date, it's unlikely Trump will complete his sentence before then. However, CNN notes that "Florida actually defers to the jurisdiction of a felony conviction as to whether a felon can vote,"and New York's felon voting laws are different. In New York, convicted felons who are not incarcerated are eligible to vote.

Can he appeal the decision?

Yes, he can appeal, and it's almost certain that he and his legal team will. As CNBC explains, "But that appeal process would play out over many months, if not years, they said. That means that even if Trump eventually overturns his conviction, he won’t be able to do so before Election Day."

When is he sentenced?

Trump's sentencing is set for July 11 at 10 a.m. eastern. Before the sentencing, Trump has to sit with an interview with a probation officer for a pre-sentencing report. His possible sentence could be as little as probation to up to four years in prison—he's charged with class E felonies, the lowest tier.

As the New York Times notes, "If Justice Merchan hands down a punishment that lands the former president behind bars — what is known as a custodial sentence — Mr. Trump would be no ordinary prisoner. That’s because the United States Secret Service is required by law to protect former presidents around the clock, which means its agents would have to protect Mr. Trump inside a prison if he was sentenced to serve time."

The logistics of that requirement would be unprecedented. "Obviously, it’s uncharted territory," Martin F. Horn, who served as commissioner of New York City's correction department, said. "Certainly no state prison system has had to deal with this before, and no federal prison has had to either."

If he receives probation, he would have to report regularly to a probation officer in New York City.

Can Trump pardon himself?

If Trump is elected president this November, and then takes office in January, would he be able to pardon himself? No: Presidents can only pardon federal convictions—someone was convicted in a United States District Court, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, or a military court-martial. This ruling is from New York State.

What does this mean for his other criminal cases?

It has no other impact on his three pending criminal cases: Two are federal cases, about his handling of classified documents, and one is a case in the State of Georgia, regarding election interference. Those three cases are not likely to go to trial before Election Day.

Has President Biden said anything about the conviction?

President Biden himself has not directly commented, but Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House Counsel's Office, said "We respect the rule of law, and have no additional comment."

We'll update this as we learn more about what's next for Donald Trump following his conviction.

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