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Donald Trump convicted in historic criminal trial: Can he still run for US president? | EXPLAINED

Donald Trump became the first former US president to be convicted of felony crimes. The court's decision came after the jurors deliberated for 9.5 hours over two days. After his conviction in the criminal case, can Donald Trump still run for the US president later this year?

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 New York Updated on: May 31, 2024 8:15 IST
Donald Trump, Donald Trump convicted, Donald Trump hush money case, can Donald Trump still run
Image Source : AP Former US President Donald Trump

Donald Trump hush money case: As former US president Donald Trump was convicted on all 34 felony charges in New York hush money case trials, questions now linger over his prospects of running for the United States president in the general elections in November this year, and also his voting rights. The queries arise as Donald Trump on Thursday (May 30) was convicted by a New York jury on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex.

After the verdict, questions arise if a convicted felon can run for president. The answer, unequivocally, is yes.

ALSO READ | Trump found guilty in hush money case, becomes first former US president to be convicted of felony

What does the US Constitution say on the matter?

The US Constitution underlines three prerequisites for presidential candidates: natural-born citizenship, a minimum age of 35, and at least 14 years of US residency – all of which Trump satisfies. Although the 14th Amendment imposes restrictions on individuals engaged in insurrection, a special law invocation by Congress remains necessary, an unlikely scenario in the current political landscape, news agency ANI reported citing a CNN report.

Judge Juan Merchan has fixed Trump’s sentencing for July 11, coinciding with the Republican National Convention's commencement in Milwaukee, just four days later. According to CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, there are speculations over the possibility of a prison sentence for Trump, despite the likelihood of a non-incarceration outcome for most Class E felony convictions in New York.

It is worth noting that Trump’s status as a former US president entitles him to lifetime Secret Service protection, which would ensure security regardless of his legal predicament. However, the prospect of a presidential campaign from prison is not unprecedented.

Eugene Debs, the socialist leader, mounted a presidential bid from a federal prison in Atlanta during his 10-year sentence for sedition in 1920.

Can Donald Trump still run for US president?

Trump’s eligibility to run for US president again remains intact, however, questions still loom over his voting rights post-conviction. State regulations dictate felons' voting privileges, with Vermont and Maine permitting voting from prison. Trump's residency in Florida adds further complications due to the state's 2018 referendum to re-enfranchise convicted felons, which included conditions requiring the payment of all fines and fees related to their sentences.

Neil Volz, deputy director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, predicted minimal obstacles for the restoration of Trump’s voting rights, given Florida's deference to felony conviction jurisdiction.

Despite the state's ongoing efforts to streamline eligibility confirmation for formerly incarcerated individuals, confusion persists regarding fee requirements, hindering many from exercising their right to vote, ANI reported citing the CNN report.

In theory, Donald Trump could be sworn in from jail or prison on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2025, if he were to unseat Joe Biden.

(With ANI inputs)


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