What Happens if Trump is Convicted?

by | Jun 21, 2023 | Firm News

Presidential candidate Donald Trump is facing state criminal charges in New York and federal criminal charges in Florida. What happens is he is convicted? There are several important questions to ask. First, can Trump run for president if convicted? The answer is yes. Even if he is convicted of a felony offense, the U.S. Constitution does NOT place any limitations on character or criminal record. Second, if Trump is convicted, would his campaign be restricted? While it would be logistically difficult to run for president from prison, it is very unlikely that Trump could be disqualified on ballots. Mr. Trump’s campaign staff could handle fund raising and other campaign activities in his absence. Next, could Mr. Trump vote if convicted of a felony offense? The short answer is probably not. Most states, including Florida, where Mr. Trump resides, restrict felons from voting , who are in prison, on probation or on parole.  Fourth, what happens if Trump is elected from prison? There is no good answer to this question, Legally, the U.S. Constitution does NOT expressly prohibit this and it is silent on this issue – probably because the Founding Fathers never dreamed that we could be in this situation. In theory, the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, provides a process to transfer authority to the vice president, if the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”. However, this requires that the vice president and a majority of his cabinet declare Mr. Trump unfit to serve. This is a highly unlikely scenario, as the president’s cabinet is usually filled with loyalists. Next, could Trump pardon himself if elected president? The answer is yes. The better question is would a “self pardon” hold up legally? That is a constitutional interpretation question that would likely be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. Finally, what happens if Trump is elected with a case still pending in court? There is no solid answer to this question, but a Trump appointed Attorney General would most likely withdraw the federal charges and terminate the prosecution. However, the President of the United States can only pardon those convicted of federal charges, not state law charges.