DecodeDCPolitics

Trump to undergo probation interview, a required step before his New York sentencing

Donald Trump
Posted at 1:28 PM, Jun 10, 2024

Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to be interviewed by New York probation officials Monday, a required step before his July sentencing in his criminal hush money case, according to three people familiar with the plan.

Trump will do the interview via video conference from his residence at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, the people told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to disclose the plans publicly.

One of Trump's lawyers, Todd Blanche, will be present for the interview. People convicted of crimes in New York usually meet with probation officials without their lawyers, but the judge in Trump's case, Juan Merchan, said in a letter Friday that he would allow Blanche's presence.

The usual purpose of a pre-sentencing probation interview is to prepare a report that will tell the judge more about the defendant, and potentially help determine the proper punishment for the crime.

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Such reports are typically prepared by a probation officer, a social worker or a psychologist working for the probation department who interviews the defendant and possibly that person’s family and friends, as well as people affected by the crime.

Presentence reports include a defendant’s personal history, criminal record and recommendations for sentencing. It will also include information about employment and any obligations to help care for a family member. It is also a chance for a defendant to say why they think they deserve a lighter punishment.

A jury convicted Trump of falsifying business records at his own company as part of a broader scheme to buy the silence of people who might have told embarrassing stories about him during the 2016 presidential campaign. One $130,000 payment went to a porn actor, Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, which he denied.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, says he is innocent of any crime and that the criminal case was brought to hurt his chances to regain the White House.

Trump's campaign spokesman, Steven Cheung, said in statement Sunday that President Joe Biden's Democratic Party allies “continue to ramp up their ongoing Witch-Hunts, further abusing and misusing the power of their offices to interfere in the presidential election.”

“President Trump and his legal team are already taking necessary steps to challenge and defeat the lawless Manhattan DA case,” he said.

Merchan has scheduled Trump's sentencing for July 11. He has discretion to impose a wide range of punishments, ranging from probation and community service to up to four years in prison.