A Yale Law Professor Explains Why Donald Trump Isn't a Convicted Felon Despite Guilty Verdict

A Yale Law Professor Explains Why Donald Trump Isn't a Convicted Felon Despite Guilty Verdict
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Stephanie Keith; (Inset): Photo by Seth Wenig

Yes, Donald Trump has been declared guilty of all 34 felony counts by the 12 jurors in the Manhattan courtroom in his Hush Money trial, but he's still not a convicted felon. A 65-year-old Yale University law professor, Jed Rubenfeld, weighed in on the prospect of the former president being accountable for the felony charges during his podcast Straight Down the Middle.

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Stephanie Keith
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Stephanie Keith

 

He cited that the Republican front-runner is not a convicted felon until the judge declares a judgment of guilty and eventually sentences him. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee was found guilty of all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to hide the hush payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 elections to silence her of their "sexual affair" in 2006. 

The politician is set to be sentenced on July 11, 2024, which could potentially send him to imprisonment in time for the Republican National Convention. Or he could also be just fined and let go in the charges and he could run for the 2024 presidential elections in November despite being found guilty. 



 

 

However, Rubenfeld noted how his attorneys could prevent him from being sentenced- like making an appeal in federal court to stop the conviction. "If you've been reading about this case - that Trump is already a convicted felon, the jury has convicted him, he's a convicted felon - well, guess what: that's not true," began the legal expert, as per Daily Mail.



 

 

He continued, "You're not a convicted felon because of a jury verdict. You're not convicted unless the judge enters a judgment of guilt against you," reiterating, "The judge still has the power, as I told you before, to throw out that verdict and enter a judgment of acquittal." Rubenfeld explained, "You are not convicted until the judge enters that judgment of guilt. Now, in New York, it's very likely that Judge Merchan will enter that judgment of guilt against Trump on the same day that he issues sentencing," noting, "That'd be July 11." 



 

 

Meanwhile, the legal expert said that in his efforts, Trump could sue District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who filed the case against Trump, and others involved in the case, and then he would "ask the judge, the federal judge, for an emergency temporary restraining order, halting Judge Merchan from entering that judgment of guilt until the federal courts have had an opportunity to review and rule out the serious constitutional arguments that exist." 



 

 

Rubenfeld also claimed that it would look bad if a former president is convicted of a trial, "Going after, criminally, a former president of the United States and somebody who is running for president now, that's a very bad look. And it's an even worse look when the crime is so unclear that the state is hiding the ball," adding, "Even now, we don't know exactly what the jury found Trump guilty of." 



 

 

However, it is worth noting that the trial verdict cannot stop Trump from running in the 2024 presidential elections. Corey Brettschneider, a lawyer and professor of political science at Brown University, clarified, "The short answer is yes, that there's no constitutional bar," as per CBS News.

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