Monday night, Donald Trump was convicted He and 18 others were indicted for the fourth time in less than five months by a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, where he and 18 others were indicted for participating in an illegal scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Prosecutors accused Trump of working with other defendants to carry out a “criminal enterprise” to alter the outcome of the election.

That means the former president – and leading contender for the 2024 GOP nomination – is headed into primary season about 100 Criminal charges in four different jurisdictions. His previous three convictions included the following charges: falsifying business records in an attempt to undermine the integrity of the 2016 election in New York; illegally possessing classified documents and obstructing efforts to bring them back to Florida; Deceiving America in connection with its efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Washington, D.C. Two trials are already set for next year, and prosecutors in the 2020 election case Requested trial starting Jan 2, however the judge has to agree with the schedule. Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis said at a news conference Monday night she will demand trial within the next six months.

Of course, it is possible that the trials will be delayed, or that Trump will be acquitted. But if he is convicted of a felony charge on any count before November 5, 2024, the country will be plunging into truly uncharted territory — especially if Trump is able to get the GOP nomination before this theoretical conviction.

Even if Trump is convicted of a crime, he can continue to run for president (though he probably can’t vote for his home state of florida, The requirements to serve as president are simple – a person must be 35 years of age, must be a natural-born citizen of the United States, and must have been a resident of the United States for at least 14 years. The constitution doesn’t say anything about a criminal record or prison sentence coming in the way.

In fact, Trump would not be the first person to be convicted in a criminal case. In 1920, socialist Eugene V. Debs famously won nearly a million votes from the jail cell where he was serving a 10-year sentence for speaking out against the draft. Conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche ran several campaigns for president after being convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service — one, like Debs, from behind bars — while criminal Keith Judd won 41 percent For the 2012 Democratic presidential primary vote in West Virginia. Trump also won’t be the only candidate with a strong conviction to contest the election this year: Joe Maldonado-Passage, a reality TV personality better known as “Joe Exotic.” convicted of attempted murder and animal abusedeclared his 2024 candidacy in March.

Then again, the more pressing question for Trump’s campaign is whether he will have to join Debs, LaRouche and Maldonado-Passage in walking behind bars. For this to happen, Trump would initially have to serve a prison sentence. For example, it is quite possible that the case in New York – which involves quietly paying an adult film actress – would not result in a prison sentence even if Trump is convicted. “I think if he is convicted he is most likely to be given a prison sentence,” he said cheryl bader, a law professor who runs the Criminal Defense Clinic at Fordham University. This is because falsifying business records is usually charged as a misdemeanor: in Trump’s case, the charges were elevated to a felony based on the following. novel theory Records were falsified in the service of federal and state election crimes. Because of this, she said, “it is a little excessive that it deserves a prison sentence.”

Federal cases in both Florida and Washington, D.C., involve charges that carry significant maximum sentences, but judges rarely impose maximum, and there is no reason to think that Trump’s case will be any different. If he is convicted and sentenced to prison on either count, he is almost certain to appeal – and it will be up to the judge whether he can remain free in the meantime. “Under federal law, it is not unusual for defendants to be released pending appeal,” it said. David SklanskyA law professor who co-directs the Criminal Justice Center at Stanford Law School.

When deciding whether to release a defendant while their appeal progresses, federal judges must take a few things into account, including whether the person is likely to flee or be a danger to others. is likely, or whether the issues on appeal are substantial enough to result in a conviction or sentence. The judge may also impose conditions – such as travel limits – that mitigate concerns about flight risk or risk to other people. But perhaps most importantly for Trump, the judge does not have to consider considerations such as the potential impact on his campaign. “He’s no different than any other defendant,” Sklansky said. The federal judge handling Trump’s case in Washington DC has already made it clear he will proceed as normal despite the unusual circumstances. “the existence of a political campaign is not going to have any bearing on his decision-making”, He said In a preliminary hearing last week.

And what about Georgia? Elizabeth TexelA University of Georgia law professor specializing in criminal law says that if Trump is convicted in Georgia and given a sentence of more than five years, he would not be eligible for release on bail while he appeals. (Notably, unlike most crimes Trump is accused of, Georgia’s fraud law is at least five years old, although the judge may impose a fine instead.) If he is convicted and sentenced to less than five years, the judge will evaluate the same factors in the federal context. But Texel was skeptical that the Georgia case would be finished by the time the 2024 election was held, especially since several other people have been charged in the case, and Willis has said she would try to prosecute them all together, making it be possible a very long test, “The Fulton County court system is facing an overwhelming backlog,” he said. “In addition you have the logistical challenges of scheduling with multiple lawyers and defendants, and the litigancy of pre-litigation issues. I think the chances of a decision coming by November 2024 are very slim.

Trump, for his part, has promised to keep going Even if he is in prison. But a high-profile presidential candidate — not even one of the major parties’ candidates — running from prison would reshape the race in big and unexpected ways. And it would be hard for any judge to ignore the political context. “I can see a judge being aware of our current divisive political climate [and] Don’t want to imprison a major candidate and be seen putting his thumb on the scales during a political campaign,” Badar said. On the other hand, the judge would also want to avoid giving any impression that Trump is receiving special treatment because of his status as a former president or presidential candidate. “In New York, most of the people who are appealing their convictions and sentences are not doing so from the comfort of their own homes — or traveling on their jets from one campaign stop to the next,” he said.

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