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ROBERT L. MARONIC: Will Trump Be Sentenced To Home Confinement, Jail Or Prison On July 11?

May 30, 2024 was an unprecedented day in U.S. history. That is when a Manhattan jury presided over by rogue Democrat Judge Juan Merchan found former President Trump guilty of thirty-four class E felonies, the least serious in New York state, for falsifying business records related to hush-money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

Congressman Mike Johnson (R-LA), the Speaker of the House and second in line to the presidency, called Trump’s verdict a “shameful day in American history.”

I predict that when the partisan and tyrannical Merchan sentences Trump on July 11, which is conveniently four days before the start of the Republican National Convention, Merchan’s punishment will be harsh, humiliating and highly disruptive to the 2024 presidential election. That is because he knows that President Biden currently has a 59% disapproval rating, and is dangerously behind in most polls.

It is also because of Biden’s extremely poor and disastrous performance at his debate with Trump in Atlanta on June 27. Merchan knows that the president or his likely replacement will greatly need some judicial “help” on Election Day.

It wouldn’t surprise many if Merchan sentenced Trump, an elderly non-violent first-time offender, to either home confinement or incarceration along with probation and community service for four years on July 11. Incarceration could either be at a state prison or Rikers Island jail.

If this were to occur, Trump would immediately become a political prisoner similar (albeit much less severe) to Alexei Navalny in Putin’s Russia before his mysterious death in a Siberian Arctic prison on February 16, 2024.

Merchan and Biden’s White House advisors fully know that there is one epithet far worse than “felon” or “convicted felon,” and that is “felon under house arrest,” “jailed felon” or “imprisoned felon.” They relish in the fact that negative campaign advertisements using any one of these three epithets would be a political media bonanza.

However, I think that incarceration for Trump may be too extreme, and could result in a backlash by turning Trump into a dreaded martyr.

I predict that Merchan will be especially harsh on Trump because he has constantly and bitterly criticized the thin-skinned judge as “biased” and “corrupt” from the trial’s start on April 15 to the verdict on May 30. Trump also has violated the court’s gag rule ten times. I certainly feel that there is a lot of personal animosity, which is truly an understatement, between Merchan and Trump.

As Alan Dershowitz has correctly commented, Trump’s “sentence will not [my emphasis] be motivated by fairness or justice; it will be the harshest sentence Merchan can impose without risking reversal or the possibility that it will help Trump’s electoral prospects.”

I predict that Merchan is much more likely to sentence Trump to four years in either jail or a state prison along with probation and community service, and then suspend his sentence. That way Merchan could convey to the public, especially Democrats and Independents, the seriousness of the crime and necessity of incarceration, without further interfering in this November’s presidential election.

However, if Trump does not receive a suspended sentence as described above, and is only able to campaign from behind bars, he could still be a presidential candidate like Socialist anti-war protester Eugene Debs when he was incarcerated in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary in 1920. If Trump is confined to his home at Trump Tower, he could also employ a “front porch campaign” similar to what William McKinley did in 1896 in Canton, Ohio.

Unlike McKinley, Trump’s “front porch campaign” would most likely be virtual rallies, television interviews, op-eds and video postings on both Truth Social and X.

If Trump wins on November 5, he could still be the next president of the U.S. because there is nothing in the Constitution that would prevent him from occupying the White House. Unfortunately, an unprecedented Constitutional crisis would soon arise on how exactly a person under house arrest, in jail or prison, who has been elected president, would occupy the Oval Office.

This would truly be a huge reason for a Supreme Court intervention and most likely an urgent need for a 28th Amendment to the Constitution specifying how a convicted felon could occupy the Oval Office while incarcerated or under house arrest.

Regardless of what sentence Trump receives on July 11, the real verdict will be on November 5. That is when all Americans will have to make a choice to vote for either a cognitively-impaired incumbent or his humiliated populist predecessor.

– Robert L. Maronic

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