People react moments after news that former US President Donald Trump
People react moments after news that former US President Donald Trump was found guilty in his trial on hush-money payments in Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City. Image Credit: AFP

New York: Donald Trump, the first former US president to be convicted of a crime, will remain a free man while he awaits sentencing and could avoid a prison term entirely for falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to a porn star.

Here is a look at what's next for the Republican candidate for president against Democratic President Joe Biden in a November 5 election.


The judge presiding over the case, Juan Merchan, must first approve the verdict and enter a final judgment, though this is typically a formality.

Criminal defendants in New York are typically sentenced within several weeks of conviction, but post-verdict legal wrangling can sometimes lead to months of delays. In the meantime, lawyers and prosecutors will recommend sentences and then argue over them at Trump's sentencing hearing, where Merchan will make a decision.

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That is unlikely.

The maximum sentence for Trump's crime of falsifying business records is 1-1/3 to four years in prison.

It is rare for people with no criminal history who are convicted only of falsification of business records to be sentenced to prison in New York. Punishments like fines or probation are more common.

Defendants convicted of falsifying business records who get sentenced to time behind bars typically serve a year or less, and even in those cases most were convicted of other crimes such as fraud or grand larceny - unlike Trump If punished beyond a fine, Trump could be placed under home confinement or subject to a curfew rather than imprisoned.

As a former president, he has a lifetime Secret Service detail, and the logistics of keeping him safe behind bars could be complicated.

Trump could also be released on bail while appealing his conviction.


Yes. Trump is likely to make arguments that Merchan rejected ahead of trial, including that the indictment is legally flawed and politically motivated.

He is also likely to argue Merchan deprived him of a fair trial by making legal errors, including allowing salacious testimony by a porn star who said she had sex with Trump - testimony his lawyers said was gratuitous and aimed at inflaming the jury against him.

The defense is likely to argue that the charges themselves were legally improper. Falsifying business records on its own is a misdemeanor in New York, but is elevated to a felony when done to help commit or conceal another crime. In this case, Bragg's office said that other crime was a conspiracy to violate a state election law.

But Trump's lawyers have argued that state law does not apply to federal elections.


Yes. The US Constitution only requires that presidents be at least 35 years old and natural-born US citizens who have lived in the country for 14 years.

In theory, Trump could be sworn in from jail or prison on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2025, if he were to unseat Biden.