Turley says it would be ‘absurd’ to send ‘elderly, first offender’ Trump to jail

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Legal expert Jonathan Turley said Monday that it would be “absurd” if former President Trump were sentenced to jail for his conviction on felony charges, predicting that he would instead get off with a lighter punishment.

Trump was convicted early this month of 34 counts of falsifying business documents in a case where prosecutors argued he illegally covered up hush money payments made to hide a past affair and influence the 2016 election.

His sentencing is scheduled for July 11, four days before the Republican National Convention begins. He has appealed the conviction, though the sentencing will go on as scheduled. The former president could face up to four years in prison, though Turley argued that isn’t likely.

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“[Trump] came fully baked, in the view of many people, jurors and judge. I think people have this idea of who Trump is. They either love him, or they hate him,” Turley said in a Fox News interview with Neil Cavuto. “I’ve never met anyone in the middle of those two camps. And so, I don’t think that the needle is going to move much here.”

“But it also would be absurd to send him to jail,” he continued. “He is an elderly first offender, nonviolent crime, and a very controversial prosecution. This whole case could be overturned ultimately, on appeal. I think that Judge Merchan would be considerably outside the navigational beacons to send him to even a day in jail.”

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Trump sat for a probation interview with a probation officer earlier Monday, as is standard procedure. Though court officials made an exception to the rule for the former president, allowing him to attend virtually.

Turley added that he thought Judge Juan Merchan was somewhat biased in his court rulings towards prosecutors, so he wouldn’t be surprised by any outcome.

“There’s a lot of pressure. You know, when I came out of that courtroom after the verdict, it was like the Roman games. I mean, people were static, to a point that it was difficult to watch,” Turley said. “People were dancing in the streets. That’s the environment around this courthouse.” 

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“And there were other people who were in deep, you know, agony and sorrow,” he continued. “It was a picture of the United States and it was not necessarily a good one. I mean, I stood there for a second and took it in, because it was such a bizarre, bifurcated scene.”

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