Trump attends probation hearing ahead of July sentencing

 June 10, 2024

Donald Trump attended a digital pre-sentencing hearing on Monday in his bogus "hush money" case. 

A probation officer collected information for the judge to consult when he decides Trump's punishment on July 11. Trump is facing up to four years in prison after being found guilty of "falsifying business records" in May.

Trump attends sentencing interview

The interview Monday lasted about half an hour. The legally required, seemingly routine hearing adds another layer of humiliation for Trump, who Democrats have sought to brand as an ordinary "convicted felon" rather than a political prisoner, as many view him.

The peculiar arrangements of Trump's interview served as a reminder of how far outside the norm Trump's prosecution really is.

Having Trump attend the hearing in person, like defendants typically do in New York, would have created logistical difficulties that the court chose to avoid.

Trump was instead permitted by Judge Juan Merchan to attend remotely from Mar-A-Lago and to have his lawyer, Todd Blanche, present.

The proceedings are sealed, but Trump and his lawyer would have been asked routine questions about topics like employment, criminal history, and substance abuse.

Just another "criminal?"

It is unlikely the interview yielded any new information, given that Trump is among the most famous people in American life. On the other hand, the hearing serves an important narrative purpose for those looking to legitimize an unprecedented abuse of the American justice system.

A pointless pre-sentencing hearing helps drive home the message that Trump is not "above the law" and is being treated just like any other criminal.

Obviously, there is nothing at all ordinary about this case, which involves an American president and major presidential candidate facing possible jail at the hands of his political rivals.

While many would say it's ridiculous that Trump even sat through this sham hearing, the unusual arrangements have led to predictable squealing from those who still believe Trump is somehow being treated leniently. New York City's mayor Eric Adams roundly rejected the claim.

“Trump has not been given any special treatment,” Ivette Dávila-Richards, a deputy press secretary for New York Mayor Eric Adams, said.

“He is being treated as any defendant convicted of a crime. It’s just since he’s so high-profile, everyone is making it bigger than what it is.”

Trump is to be sentenced only a few days before the Republican National Convention next month.

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