Can a convicted felon run for president?

Time Of Info By TOI Desk Report   May 31, 2024   Update on : May 31, 2024

Stormy Daniels
Donald Trump. Photo: Screengrab

Donald Trump became the first-ever US president to be convicted of a crime when a New York jury on Thursday found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star in the run-up to the 2016 election.

The 12-member jury, after two days of deliberation, pronounced Donald Trump guilty on all 34 counts.

Justice Juan Merchan set the sentencing date for July 11, just days ahead the Republican Party is expected to nominate Trump for the presidential run before the November 5 election.

Trump would remain a free man while he awaits sentencing and could avoid a prison term entirely, begging the next question — Can a convicted felon run for president?

Another question is more complicated: Could Trump vote for himself as a felon? Probably, yes.

The US Constitution has only three requirements for candidates running for president:

– Being a natural-born citizen

– Being at least 35 years old

– Having been a US resident for at least 14 years

Donald Trump meets all three requirements.

Arguably, there is another criterion in the 14th Amendment, which it states that no one who has taken an oath of office earlier, who engages in insurrection, can be an officer of the US.

However, earlier this year, the US Supreme Court ruled that Congress would have to pass a special law invoking this prohibition, which is not happening soon.

It is possible technically, although perhaps unlikely, for a first-time offender to be handed out prison time.

The maximum time served for falsifying business records is four years imprisonment.

Six legal experts — including former prosecutors and defence lawyers — told Reuters it was rare for people without criminal histories, such as Trump, who are charged solely with falsification of business records to be sentenced to prison time in New York, with fines and community service being more common.

However, such a sentence would not be impossible, they said adding caution that it was too early to predict what punishment Trump could face if convicted.

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