Trump says he will meet with probation officer before handing down money sentence

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Donald Trump said on Monday he would be questioned by a probation officer before his sentencing next month over his historic conviction on charges related to money paid to a porn star.

In a fundraising email to his supporters, the Republican presidential candidate wrote: “I’m actually about to talk to a probation officer after my FAGED CONVICTION! » Trump did not specify when the meeting would take place.

In the first-ever criminal trial of a former US president, a Manhattan jury last month found Trump guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal the $130,000 payment made by his former lawyer Michael Cohen to adult film actress Stormy Daniels for her silence before the 2016 election about a sexual relationship she says she had a decade earlier.

Trump denies the meeting and has vowed to appeal the verdict after his July 11 sentencing hearing in court. Juan Merchan. Trump called the charges brought by Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg a partisan attempt to interfere with his campaign.

A probation officer’s report is intended to give the sentencing judge a comprehensive view of the defendant’s circumstances and background to help decide whether a prison sentence or an alternative such as probation is appropriate, said Duncan Levin, a New York defense attorney and former Manhattan prosecutor.

In a typical interview, the officer will question defendants about their family, childhood circumstances, immigration status and any drug use to write a report to give judges context that might not otherwise have not been revealed earlier in the case.

Such details are less relevant in this case, because Trump’s biographical details are already widely known, Levin said.

“The judge is already very well informed about who this particular defendant is,” Levin said.

The probation officer’s recommendation is just one factor judges consider when sentencing criminal defendants. Prosecutors and defense attorneys also propose sentences.

Merchan signed an order Friday allowing Trump’s defense attorney, Todd Blanche, to be present during the interview. It’s common, Levin said.

For defendants convicted of falsifying business records in the past, sanctions such as probation or fines are most common – but prison sentences are not unprecedented.

One factor Merchan could consider is Trump’s decision to take his case to court. Although every defendant has the right to do so, judges often look favorably on people who admit guilt and express remorse.

Trump also faces three other criminal cases stemming from efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democratic President Joe Biden and his handling of sensitive government documents after leaving the White House in 2021. He has pleaded not guilty in those affairs, none of which are likely. to reach a trial before the November 5 elections.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; editing by Alistair Bell)

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