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Trump Set for Virtual Interview Ahead of Hush Money Sentencing

Photo: Reuters

Former President Donald Trump is set to be interviewed by New York probation officials on Monday as part of the pre-sentencing process in his criminal hush money case. This step, which is essential before his sentencing in July, aims to gather detailed information about Trump to assist the judge in determining the appropriate punishment for the crime. Three individuals familiar with the plan confirmed this information to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, as they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The interview will be conducted via computer video conference from Trump's residence at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida. Todd Blanche, one of Trump's lawyers, will be present during the interview. Although defendants in New York typically meet with probation officials without their lawyers, Judge Juan Merchan has permitted Blanche's presence in this instance, as stated in a letter from Friday.

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Pre-sentencing probation interviews are designed to prepare a comprehensive report for the judge, providing insights into the defendant's background, which can influence the sentencing decision. These reports are usually compiled by probation officers, social workers, or psychologists who interview the defendant and potentially their family, friends, and individuals affected by the crime. The reports include the defendant’s personal history, criminal record, employment status, family responsibilities, and recommendations for sentencing. It also allows the defendant an opportunity to argue for a lighter punishment.

Trump was convicted by a jury of falsifying business records at his company as part of a scheme to buy the silence of individuals who might have revealed embarrassing stories about him during the 2016 presidential campaign. Among these payments was a $130,000 transaction to porn actor Stormy Daniels, who alleged a sexual encounter with Trump, a claim he denies.

As the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Trump maintains his innocence and contends that the criminal case is a tactic to undermine his bid to return to the White House. Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump's campaign, issued a statement on Sunday accusing President Joe Biden’s Democratic allies of misusing their power to interfere in the presidential election through ongoing investigations and legal actions against Trump. Cheung stated, “President Trump and his legal team are already taking necessary steps to challenge and defeat the lawless Manhattan DA case.”

Judge Merchan has scheduled Trump's sentencing for July 11. He has the discretion to impose a range of punishments, from probation and community service to a maximum of four years in prison.

June 10, 2024 5:54 p.m. 404

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