Sentencing, Can He Still Run for President and More: What Happens Next after Guilty Verdict in Donald Trump Hush Money Case

Former President Donald Trump has been found guilty on all 34 counts in his criminal hush money trial — so what happens now? The case marks the first time a former U.S. president was ever tried or convicted in a criminal case, and is the first of Trump’s four indictments to reach trial. But does a guilty verdict mean he can no longer run for president? What about vote? And when will he learn his sentence? Here’s what to know.

What was Trump found guilty of?
Prosecutors accused Trump of falsifying internal business records to cover up hush money payments tied to an alleged scheme to bury stories that might have torpedoed his 2016 White House bid. At the heart of the charges were reimbursements paid to Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen for a $130,000 hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels in exchange for not going public with her claim about a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. Prosecutors said the reimbursements were falsely logged as “legal expenses” to hide the true nature of the transactions. The charges Trump faces are punishable by up to four years in prison. He has denied any wrongdoing and had pleaded not guilty.

When will Trump be sentenced and how long could he face?
Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw the case, set sentencing for July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. The falsifying business records charges carry up to four years behind bars, though prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek imprisonment, and it is not clear whether the judge — who earlier in the trial warned of jail time for gag order violations — would impose that punishment even if asked.

What happens now?
Trump is expected to quickly appeal the verdict and will face an awkward dynamic as he seeks to return to the campaign trail after being found guilty. There are no campaign rallies on the calendar for now, though he’s expected to hold fundraisers next week.

Can Trump still run for president?
The answer is, simply, yes. A convicted or imprisoned felon can not only campaign for president and other federal offices, but also be elected. The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly prohibit a presidential candidate from running for office while under indictment, or even while serving time behind bars. Eligibility requirements for presidents state only that they must be at least 35 years old, be a natural-born citizen of the United States, and have been a resident of the country for at least 14 years. So, a criminal record, an orange jumpsuit and being on the wrong side of prison bars will not necessarily prevent someone from becoming president. It’s the voters who have the power to do that.

What about vote?
Donald Trump may have been convicted of a felony and reside in Florida, a state notorious for restricting the voting rights of felons, but he can still vote as long as he stays out of prison in New York state. In Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, “you only lose your right to vote if you are currently incarcerated for a criminal conviction,” according to the Justice Department. “If you lost your voting rights because of a conviction, you can register to vote immediately after your release. Pretrial detention, probation, and parole do not restrict your voting rights,” the government states.

What has the reaction been?
After the verdict, Trump said: “The real verdict is going to be November 5th by the people. They know what happened here, everyone knows what happened here. … I’m a very innocent man.” President Joe Biden’s campaign sought to keep the focus on the November election even as it said Thursday that former President Donald Trump’s criminal conviction showed that “that no one is above the law.” In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said “justice has been served.” Meanwhile, the Illinois Republican Party called it “a political prosecution the likes of which occurs in banana republics but not previously in these United States.”