Trump meets with probation officer Monday; what will happen in the interview?

The probation officer will prepare a report for judge.

Former President Donald Trump will take part in a virtual interview with a probation officer on Monday, the next step in the sentencing process for his felony conviction in the New York hush-money case.

Trump and his lawyer, Todd Blanche, will participate from Mar-a-Lago according to The Associated Press. While the New York Court system does not usually allow lawyers to be present for probation interviews, the AP reported that Judge Juan Merchan agreed to allow Blanche to appear alongside his client on Monday.

The interview will be part of the pre-sentencing process, and a report about the meeting will be submitted to Merchan, who will decide Trump’s sentence.

A jury convicted Trump of falsifying business records as part of a broader scheme to silence people who might have told embarrassing stories about him before the 2016 presidential election. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, says he is innocent of any crime and that the criminal case was brought to hurt his chances to be re-elected president.

Trump is set to be sentenced on July 11.

Trump is being allowed to participate in the virtual probation meeting because his being at the Manhattan courthouse is “very disruptive,” Martin Horn, a former commissioner for the New York City Department of Correction and Probation told NBC News.

“It is highly unusual for a pre-sentence investigation interview to be done over Zoom,” according to Horn.

What will happen in the interview?

The purpose of a pre-sentencing probation interview is to gather information to prepare a report — a pre-sentencing report (PSR) — that will be part of the information that a judge uses to determine punishment for a crime.

The PSR generally includes a personal history, any criminal record and recommendations for sentencing from those involved in putting the report together. The report will also include information about employment and any obligations to help care for a family member.

Such reports are typically prepared using information gathered by a probation officer, a social worker or a psychologist. Sometimes, comments from the person’s family, friends and people affected by the crime are included in the PSR.

What could the sentence be?

Merchan can impose punishment ranging from probation to community service to time in prison. Each of the 34 felony charges carries up to a four-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine, The New York Times reported.

If sentenced to prison, Trump would likely be ordered to serve the time concurrently for each count, meaning the sentences for each of the 34 counts would be served at the same time for a total of up to four years in jail.

Rather than serving time in jail, Trump could also be sentenced to home detention, where he would wear an ankle bracelet and his movements be monitored.

If he is sentenced to jail would he begin the sentence before the election?

Trump has said he intends to appeal his case. He could seek to stay the execution of any sentence he is issued pending appeal, meaning that he wouldn’t have to start serving any sentence until an appeals court rules on his case.

An appeal could delay any jail time until after the election, as the appeal process can be slow.


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