Could Trump Go To Jail If Convicted In Hush Money Case?

 May 20, 2024

Former President Donald Trump faces a critical legal battle that could alter his future. Trump is currently under threat of conviction for 34 felony counts related to falsifying business records in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.

According to Daily Mail, despite the severity of the charges, experts believe that even a conviction is unlikely to lead to jail time for Trump.

Experts have largely concluded that Trump would not face jail time if convicted. Judge Juan Merchan, who presides over the case, has the power to decide the sentence, which may include probation instead of imprisonment. Trump's legal team has been working to undermine the credibility of Michael Cohen, a key witness in the trial, hoping to sow reasonable doubt among jurors.

Judge's Discretion And Potential Sentencing

Trump could face up to four years in jail if convicted of all counts. However, Judge Merchan has indicated his reluctance to imprison a former president, stating he has no desire to put Trump behind bars. This sentiment could influence the final sentencing if Trump is found guilty.

Defense lawyers are in the final stages of cross-examining Cohen, whose testimony has been pivotal. Cohen admitted to lying on behalf of Trump, which the defense hopes will create doubt about the prosecution's case. The trial's outcome remains uncertain, with possibilities ranging from a full acquittal to a hung jury, which would result in a mistrial.

Probation And Potential Restrictions

A conviction could lead to probation, which would restrict Trump's liberty, including possible drug and alcohol testing. Despite these conditions, Trump would continue to receive Secret Service protection, as law requires. The judge would seek sentencing memos from the defense and prosecution before deciding.

Michael Cohen’s testimony has revealed his involvement in the lies on Trump’s behalf, adding complexity to the case. In the event of a hung jury, DA Alvin Bragg might pursue a new trial, although it would likely be delayed past the upcoming November elections.

Impact Of Prior Record And Lesser Charges

Given Trump’s lack of prior criminal convictions and the nonviolent nature of the charges, experts believe a jail sentence is improbable. Former prosecutor Adam Shlahet explained that for someone with no criminal record, jail time for a Class E felony is highly unlikely. Probation, while less severe than imprisonment, still carries significant burdens, including regular reporting to authorities.

The jury could consider lesser included offenses, which might result in misdemeanor charges instead of felonies. This could lead to up to a year in local prison and fines, providing a less severe alternative to the current charges. Trump's defense has aggressively appealed various criminal indictments, which could delay any sentencing if a conviction occurs.

Potential Delays And Appeals

Trump's lawyers are expected to appeal any conviction, potentially stalling sentencing for months. This strategy has been effective in other cases, including the Georgia election case, where an appeal is currently underway. Sentencing could be postponed during the appeal process, allowing Trump to continue his defense efforts.

Secret Service officials are already planning for Trump’s protection if he receives a short sentence. Even with a conviction, the judge might delay sentencing while Trump’s legal team works on an appeal, pushing back any immediate consequences. Eugene O'Donnell, a law professor, stated: "The worst outcome is that Trump is found guilty of multiple felony counts, and thus, he is forever more a convicted criminal and a felon."

Ultimately, the judge could jail Trump for violating a gag order during the trial, although Merchan has preferred avoiding this outcome. The trial's continuation underscores this high-profile case's high stakes and complex legal maneuvering.


The trial of Donald Trump for falsifying business records related to the Stormy Daniels hush money case is a significant legal battle with far-reaching implications. Experts believe that even if Trump is convicted, jail time is unlikely, with probation being a more probable outcome. The trial continues to hinge on key testimonies, particularly that of Michael Cohen, and the jury's deliberations on potential lesser charges. Trump's lack of prior convictions and the nonviolent nature of the charges play in his favor, though his legal team is prepared to appeal any conviction. As the case progresses, the legal and political ramifications continue to unfold.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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