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Donald Trump faces potential jail time

Photo credits: Reuters

Former US President Donald Trump is facing criminal charges for alleged alterations of around 36 business records in an attempt to cover up the hush money he paid to adult actress Stormy Daniels. The jury selection for the trial began on April 15 in New York City. This marks the first criminal trial of a former US President.

Trump was charged with 34 cases of fraud for the money he gave to Daniels prior to the 2016 election to subdue rumors of their relations. While hush money payments are not illegal, prosecutors have labeled this payment as an attempt to “unlawfully influence” the 2016 US election. 

The former President pleaded not guilty, arguing that he committed no criminal offenses. He also expressed that he thought this trial was a “witch hunt” conducted by Alvin Bragg, the Democratic Manhattan district attorney. Trump then noted that he believed the judge of this trial was biased against him.

The six- to eight-week trial poses a threat to Trump’s campaign as he goes head-to-head with Democratic candidate and current US President Joe Biden. 

“I think this trial will have a very little outcome on the election,” Morgan Miller, AP US history teacher, said. “I think that for the most part, American voters have made up their minds on whether they think Donald Trump is capable of being President, so I do not think the outcome of the election is going to sway more than a handful of voters.”

Trump’s potential criminal record does not impact his eligibility for the presidency, but it has raised controversy over whether or not he is a worthy candidate due to the singularity of this case. Questions also arose of what would happen if Trump is elected while in prison, with The New York Times noting that “the election of an incarcerated president would create a legal crisis that would almost certainly need to be resolved by the courts.”

“I think Trump should not be allowed to run for President,” Leah Kim (9), MUN member, said. “I know that there is always some chance for him to be voted into office, but if Trump becomes re-elected, that would mean that an unorganized and unqualified person would be representing a nation.”

Although Trump is required to attend every day of the trial to avoid potential arrest, the court may approve some absences in the case of other crucial events. The trial has already differed significantly from regular criminal trials, as it has led to protestors chanting outside the courthouse as the jurors walked in, an extensive juror selection process, and delays before the trial due to requests from the lawyers involved.

“I think that Trump’s trial being different from other regular trials is inevitable because of his significance in US politics and the upcoming election where he is an important candidate,” Zoe Chang (9), MUN member, said. “I believe this does make the trial slightly unfair because it gives Trump some privileges that may benefit him in the trial.”

After both the prosecuting and defending attorneys rest their case, the jurors will determine if Trump committed the crimes that he is accused of, with Trump only being found guilty if the jurors settle on a unanimous decision. If found guilty, the former President may face probation or up to four years in prison.

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About the Contributor
Grace Lee
Grace Lee, Reporter
Grace is a sophomore reporter for Tiger Times. She is interested in literature, loves watching soccer games with her parents, and listens to pop music during her free time. Feel free to approach her with book recommendations or anything else!

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