What prison sentence could Trump face if he is convicted in his hush money trial?

Donald Trump could soon became the first American president in history to serve time in prison as the jury prepares to weigh his fate in the New York hush money trial.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal a secret $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign, in order to ensure her silence over an alleged affair in 2006.

Mr Trump denies the affair and has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case.

Ms Daniels, her former lawyer Keith Davidson, Mr Trump’s former “fixer” turned arch nemesis Michael Cohen, ex-National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and former Trump White House aides Hope Hicks and Madeleine Westerhout all took the stand to testify in the trial.

Both sides have now rested, with closing arguments set for next week before the jury begins its deliberations.

The 34 charges have been “stepped up” from misdemeanors to class E felonies because prosecutors allege the crimes were carried out in an effort to commit or conceal another crime – these crimes being election conspiracy and campaign finance and tax law violations.

If convicted, Mr Trump could theoretically face more than a decade in prison, according to CNN chief legal analyst Laura Coates.

Under New York state law, the maximum prison sentence for a Class E felony is four years in prison.

Former president Donald Trump speaks with the media at his trial on Friday 19 April (AP)
Former president Donald Trump speaks with the media at his trial on Friday 19 April (AP)

While Mr Trump faces 34 Class E felony counts, New York imposes a 20-year sentencing cap for this type of offence, with a decision on whether the sentences run concurrently or consecutively left up to the judge.

Given that Mr Trump has no prior criminal record and the alleged crimes are non-violent in nature, it is likely that he would face no jail time.

Instead, New York Justice Juan Merchan could impose other penalties such as fines, probation or conditional discharge in lieu of jail time.

The bigger questions surrounding the hypothetical incarceration of Mr Trump is what kind of Secret Service detail he might receive as the first former president-turned-inmate.

At a time when he is campaigning to take back the White House in November, Mr Trump is also battling three other criminal indictments in Florida, Washington DC and Georgia.

His hush money trial in New York is currently entering its final stages, with both sides resting their cases last week.

Closing arguments are set to begin on Tuesday 28 May, with the jury then beginning deliberations.