Is Trump going to jail? Ex-president's odds of lockup over his felony convictions are slim to none, legal experts say

  • Trump's odds of going to jail for his 'hush-money' conviction are slim to none, experts said.

  • "I do not see a scenario where Donald Trump spends one minute in jail," one defense attorney told Business Insider.

  • It's more possible Trump could face a fine, community service, or probation, experts said.

The chances of Donald Trump spending any time behind bars after a jury found Trump guilty on all counts in his New York hush-money trial are slim to none, legal experts told Business Insider.

The jury in Trump's historic trial found him guilty on Thursday of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels. A sentencing date has been set for July 11. The former president will appeal the verdict, his attorney told Business Insider.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg could technically seek to lock up Trump during sentencing, given that felony falsifying of business records allows a sentence of anywhere from zero jail time up to a maximum of four years in prison.

But first-time offenders virtually never go to jail for these kinds of non-violent, low-level felonies. Prosecutors can also ask for other penalties — including a hefty fine, community service, and probation.

"I can't say for absolute 100% certainty there can't be jail because on the books, he can go to jail," said high-profile defense attorney and former Brooklyn prosecutor Arthur Aidala.

But, Aidala said, "I do not see a scenario where Donald Trump spends one minute in jail."

Aidala and other defense attorneys told Business Insider that it is beyond rare for a defendant in New York to get locked up on a non-violent, first-offense, E-level felony.

"In New York State and in particular New York County, it is extraordinarily rare for a 70-something-year-old man, first arrest, who was convicted of a low-level non-violent felony to be incarcerated," said Mark Bederow, a defense attorney and former prosecutor for the Manhattan district attorney's office.

But Bederow noted that there is "no comparison" to this "unprecedented" case as Trump — a frontrunner in the 2024 presidential election.

"If there was anyone who would be incarcerated over this type of crime, it would be an elected official," said former Manhattan prosecutor, Jeremy Saland, now a lawyer in private practice. "That said, to think for a moment that Trump is going to be incarcerated? That would shock me, for practical reasons and for reasons of allowing anger and divisiveness to fester."

Aidala said that Bragg — a Democrat who has instructed prosecutors in his office to only seek jail or prison time for the most serious of crimes — "would lose all credibility in the entire legal community" if his prosecutors sought to put Trump behind bars.

"It would be so beyond normal," Aidala said. "It would fly in the face of everything that [Bragg's] doing in that office, which is to try and keep people out of jail."

Bederow predicted there would even be  Trump detractors who would speak out to say incarcerating him is "dangerous" and a "bad precedent."

Defense attorneys told Business Insider that besides jail time, prosecutors could try to impose a large fine, community service, or probation on the former president.

Aidala said if prosecutors "really want to embarrass" the former president "they may ask for community service."

Any kind of community service would likely be "private," so Trump couldn't be "out there cleaning a park or picking up garbage," Aidala said.

Read the original article on Business Insider