Sources indicate that Trump will be interviewed for probation in NY hush money case on Monday afternoon

Sources familiar with the matter have revealed that Donald Trump, the former President, will attend a presentencing interview on Monday afternoon in preparation for his sentencing on July 11th in his criminal case in New York.

During the interview, Trump will attend remotely from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida, and a probation officer will lead the questioning. The purpose of the interview is to prepare a report that will recommend the suitable punishment for Judge Juan Merchan to impose at the former president’s sentencing next month.

In a scheme to conceal information from voters prior to the 2016 election, including a $130,000 payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who accused him of having an affair, former President Trump was found guilty of falsifying business records by a jury last month. Despite the allegations, Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Last week, Judge Merchan signed an order allowing Todd Blanche, Trump’s defense lawyer, to attend the interview with probation officials. It is uncommon for defendants to have legal representation present during these interviews.

It is unlikely that the interview will be made public, and the report that is being prepared prior to Trump’s sentencing is expected to be kept confidential.

When a defendant is found guilty of a crime in the New York state courts, they are typically interviewed by a probation officer, social worker, or psychologist. This interview is conducted to better understand the individual’s personal and criminal history so that a presentence report can be prepared for the judge overseeing the case. Pace University law professor Bennett Gershman emphasizes the importance of this report, especially in cases where a judge accepts a guilty plea or lacks familiarity with the defendant’s background and behavior.

According to ABC News, probation services conduct an extensive investigation to gather information about the defendant’s background. This investigation is done to provide the judge with as much information as possible, as explained by Gershman.

When preparing their report, a probation officer may speak with various individuals involved in the investigation, the victim, and the defendant’s family depending on the type of crime committed. The report typically includes information on the defendant’s personal history, finances, professional work, criminal record, and background information related to the offense.

According to Cheryl Bader, a professor at Fordham Law, interviews provide an opportunity for the defendant to showcase positive aspects about themselves and potentially receive a more lenient sentence. Bader explains that if the probation officer is sympathetic towards the defendant, they may write a report that portrays them in a more positive light. This can ultimately impact the outcome of the case.

According to Bader, the report may not play a significant role in Trump’s case as the judge is already well-acquainted with the alleged behavior and Trump’s general character. Throughout the trial, the former President repeatedly directed his attacks towards the judge, accusing him of bias and conflicts of interest. As a result, the judge held Trump in criminal contempt ten times for violating the limited gag order imposed on the case.

According to Gershman, the interview may not reveal any new information about Trump’s behavior or personality. However, if Trump disrespects the probation officer during the interview, it could have negative consequences for him.

According to Gershman, if Trump were to provide responses that demonstrate a lack of respect or concern for the legal system, the judge would undoubtedly take note of it, given his previous remarks. On the other hand, if Trump were to issue an apology and express remorse, the judge would also make note of that.

On July 11, Merchan will consider the report from the probation officer, along with the sentencing submissions prepared by both sides, in order to determine the appropriate sentence.

The court found Trump guilty of 34 class-E felonies, which are considered as the least severe level felonies in New York state and can result in a maximum prison sentence of four years. The judge, Merchan, has the option to choose between imposing prison time, probation, or conditional discharge, which could include community service or fines as part of the conditions.

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