Trump’s probation interview set for Monday after hush money conviction

Former President Trump is expected to sit down for a virtual interview with a New York City probation officer from his Mar-a-Lago home on Monday with his attorney Todd Blanche by his side after being found guilty of all charges during the secret trial. against him last month, three sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, was convicted last month of all 34 counts of falsifying business records in the landmark case. The probation interview is required by the court as part of the former president’s pre-sentencing report.

Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the hush money case, allowed Blanche to be present at the probation interview after prosecutors did not object. Trump’s defense team is expected to submit its sentencing recommendation on June 13.

The former president is scheduled to be sentenced on all 34 counts in New York on July 11, days before the start of the Republican National Convention.

Some legal experts noted that holding a probation interview via video conference was unusual, but having the former president on probation in New York would also be unprecedented.

Martin Horn, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections and Probation, told NBC News, “it is very unusual for a pre-sentencing investigative interview to be conducted via Zoom,” but said added that an in-person visit by Trump to the probation office would be “very disruptive.”

“But it can be argued that Trump’s appearance at the probation office on the 10th floor of Manhattan Criminal Court, where his trial took place, with the Secret Service and the press following him, would be very disruptive for the probation office. probation and unfair to the other defendants. who might not want to be identified,” he said. “So ultimately it might be better for the probation officer.”

Horn noted that the typical purpose of a probation interview is to obtain information about Trump’s social and criminal history, financial resources, mental health history, physical or substance abuse problems, as well as to assess his living situation.

Trump might also be asked if he associates with someone with a criminal record, because he can’t associate with them if he’s placed on probation, Horn said. The probation officer may also want to interview other people at Trump’s home afterward. Although agents typically respond to their inquiries in a single session, follow-up interviews may occur. The probation officer will then write a report and give it to Merchan.

The former president faces a sentence ranging from probation to four years in prison. Some legal experts say Trump is unlikely to be imprisoned due to his age, lack of criminal record and other factors.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters accompanied by his lead attorney Todd Blanche at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 6, 2024.Peter Foley/AP

Duncan Levin, a former Manhattan prosecutor turned defense attorney, said the prosecution would likely seek prison time.

Blanche, Trump’s lawyer, will be present to ensure no questions put her client in legal jeopardy, Levin said. While the hearing may seem like an unnecessary step given that Trump is one of the most scrutinized public figures, it is the court’s way of judging who he is beyond what was revealed during the trial .

“It’s unlikely that we’ll move the needle because the judge knows a lot about his background,” Levin said, referring to the probation hearing.

Levin also highlighted the gag order Merchan imposed against Trump after he attacked members of his family and the prison sentence handed down to Michael Cohen, Trump’s self-proclaimed former fixer who acted as a star witness in the indictment, for a series of federal charges, including lying to Congress. .

“As an E crime is punishable by prison, this case deserves prison time, he has shown no remorse and has been held in contempt 10 times, but the judge has warned him if he does not comply not the gag order, I’ll send you to jail, and then he did it again multiple times,” Levin said. “And subverting the election process is as serious a records violation as any in New York courts.”

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