Judge Will Send a ‘Strong Message’ When Sentencing Trump, Dershowitz Says

The retired Harvard Law professor said the judge has options, including a ’very harsh fine,’ a prison term, house arrest, probation or a suspended sentence.

Retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz predicted that New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan will try to send a “very strong message” when sentencing former President Donald Trump next month.

The former president was convicted by a Manhattan jury on May 31 for falsifying business records.

The judge likely won’t have President Trump pay just a small fine and he also will come up with a way to issue a sentence that won’t be “a basis for a reversal” when the case is ultimately appealed, Mr. Dershowitz said on his YouTube channel.

“I think a very likely outcome would be the judge sentences him to a number of years in prison—two years, three years”—but Judge Merchan will likely then “suspend the sentence,” the retired professor said, adding that President Trump’s status as a leading presidential candidate will be a factor.

Another option the judge could use would be to sentence President Trump to several years in prison but then order him to surrender after the election is over regardless of whether he’s elected or not.

“I don’t think he’s going to do that,” Mr. Dershowitz said, adding that it would likely be reversed or stayed by a higher court.

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“It would be the first time someone” went to prison for falsifying business records in this sort of instance, he said, adding “there is no precedent for jail” in President Trump’s case.

A third option, he speculated, would be President Trump receiving a probation sentence for “five years,” making him the first president to serve in office while on probation.

“He’d have to report periodically to his probation officer” as president, Mr. Dershowitz said.

A house arrest sentence is “also a possibility” but not likely, he added as a fourth option.

Possible Conditional Sentence

And a fifth option for the judge would be a conditional sentence that would allow the judge not to sentence President Trump on the condition that he carries out certain actions, Mr. Dershowitz said.

“This is very much a case of first impression,” he said, adding that “we just don’t know” what the courts might do relating to a former president and leading presidential candidate going to jail.

A likely possibility, Mr. Dershowitz said, is that the judge will impose a “very harsh fine” and for fines of contempt of court for violating a gag order.

Earlier this year, Judge Merchan imposed a gag order that prohibited the former president from speaking publicly about certain individuals connected to the case.

President Trump is expected to appeal the verdict and has publicly said as much. The conviction, and even imprisonment, will not bar President Trump from continuing his White House pursuit.

On June 2, former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who said he refused to bring a similar case against President Trump, suggested in an interview that President Trump likely will get no prison time during the sentencing hearing.

“I think not” was his reply when asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about the chance of a prison term.

Mr. Vance added, “Now, that said, the court could adjourn sentencing until after the general election and then essentially decide then.”

The former president faces three other felony indictments, but the New York case may be the only one to reach a conclusion before the November election, adding to the significance of the outcome.

Though the legal and historical implications of the verdict are readily apparent, the political consequences are less so given its potential to reinforce rather than reshape already hardened opinions about President Trump.

Ahead of the verdict, the Trump campaign had argued that, no matter the jury’s decision, the outcome was unlikely to sway voters and that the election would be decided by issues such as inflation and illegal immigration.

This past week, President Trump was convicted by a Manhattan jury on 34 felony counts related to fraudulent accounting. Prosecutors said that the former president tried to conceal payments his then-attorney sent to a pornographic performer to keep her quiet about an alleged affair that the former president has denied.

“While this defendant may be unlike any other in American history, we arrived at this trial and ultimately today in this verdict in the same manner as every other case that comes through the courtroom doors, by following the facts and the law and doing so without fear or favor,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, said after the verdict.

President Trump’s lawyers contend they were legitimate payments for legal services. He denied the sexual encounter, and his lawyers argued at trial that his celebrity status made him an extortion target.

After the conviction, polls have shown mixed results. One pollster found that President Trump saw a 2-point boost after his conviction and is leading President Joe Biden nationally.

But another one from ABC-Ipsos found that 52 percent of independent voters think that the former president should end his 2024 campaign.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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