Trump grilled on his mental and physical health by probation officer ahead of hush money sentencing

Former president took part in virtual questioning session for report to be submitted to Judge Juan Merchan ahead of July 11 ruling

Joe Sommerlad
Tuesday 11 June 2024 11:07
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Donald Trump completed his pre-sentencing interview with a New York City probation officer on Monday, a mandatory requirement before he is sentenced on July 11 by New York judge Juan Merchan after being found guilty on all 34 counts at his hush money trial last month.

The Republican presidential candidate and now convicted felon sat for the session virtually and was finished after “less than a half-hour of routine and uneventful questions and answers”, a source told the Associated Press.

Trump’s lead attorney Todd Blanche was allowed to be on the call to advise his client, which is not standard practice but was permitted since Judge Merchan did not object.

Former New York City Department of Corrections and Probation commissioner Martin Horn told NBC News in advance of Monday’s interview that conducting the session by video call was “highly unusual” but acknowledged that hauling Trump into a probation office would be “very disruptive” and require additional security considerations.

Trump’s answers to the interview questions, which concerned his personal history and current physical and mental wellbeing, will be used to compile a report that will be submitted to Judge Merchan as he weighs the defendant’s punishment.

It follows his May 30 conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to conceal a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016, just prior to that year’s election, to ensure her silence over an alleged affair.

The former president’s defense team is expected to enter its own sentencing recommendation on June 13, with the prosecution following on June 27, but the justice will announce his final ruling next month.

Trump’s sentencing will come just four days before he will be formally invited to accept the Republican presidential nomination for 2024 at its national convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an honor he could theoretically have to answer from inside a jail cell.

Donald Trump addresses the press from Trump Tower in New York in the aftermath of his hush money trial verdict
Donald Trump addresses the press from Trump Tower in New York in the aftermath of his hush money trial verdict (AP)

Judge Merchan has the power to impose a wide range of punishments on the former president, ranging from probation and community service to up to four years in prison.

Trump was found guilty by a unanimous jury after six weeks of often-explosive testimony from the likes of Daniels, ex-tabloid publisher David Pecker and the Republican’s own estranged former fixer Michael Cohen.

He denied any wrongdoing and insisted before the trial even began and throughout its duration that the whole affair was a “scam” with a “rigged” outcome that had been cooked up by Joe Biden and his countless political enemies to discredit him, a ploy to keep him away from the campaign trail as he pursues a belated second stint in the White House.

Trump has continued to make that argument to his supporters and his allies in conservative media since the verdict was announced, threatening “revenge” should he return to the Oval Office.

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