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Trump warns of ‘breaking point’ for Americans if he’s jailed

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Donald Trump said he would accept home confinement or jail time after his historic conviction on criminal charges by a New York jury last week but that it would be tough for the public to accept.

Former US president Donald Trump outside Trump Tower in New York, May 31, 2024. Picture: Reuters, Andrew Kelly

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump said on Sunday he would accept home confinement or jail time after his historic conviction on criminal charges by a New York jury last week but that it would be tough for the public to accept.

Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, four days before Republicans gather to formally choose their presidential nominee to face Democratic President Joe Biden in November’s election.

Prison time is rare for people convicted in New York state of felony falsification of business records, the charge Trump, the Republican presidential candidate, faced at his trial. The maximum sentence for such a charge is four years imprisonment.

“I’m not sure the public would stand for it,” the former president told Fox News of a potential prison sentence.

“I think it’d be tough for the public to take. You know, at a certain point, there’s a breaking point.”

Trump has vowed to appeal his conviction by the New York jury, which found him guilty of 34 felony counts over falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

To succeed on appeal, Trump, 77, must demonstrate that Justice Juan Merchan made significant errors overseeing the trial.

His lawyers have said they expect to take the case to the Supreme Court. On Sunday, Trump, who tried to disqualify Merchan from the case, repeated allegations of bias by the judge and the district attorney who prosecuted the case.

“The United States Supreme Court MUST DECIDE!,” Trump wrote on social media.

Trump plans to appeal after his July 11 sentencing date, his lawyers say. If an appeal in New York state courts proves unsuccessful, he could appeal to the Supreme Court. Trump’s attorneys would have to persuade at least four of the court’s nine justices to hear his case.

To prevail, Trump would then have to demonstrate that the state prosecution violated his federal constitutional rights and that his legal team followed proper procedures during earlier stages of his legal proceedings.

‘SPEAK OUT AGAINST THIS’

Trump has used his conviction to step up his fundraising efforts but has not otherwise sought to mobilize his supporters, in contrast to his comments protesting his 2020 loss to Biden that were followed by a deadly attack by his supporters on Jan 6, 2021 on the US Capitol.

Asked what Trump supporters should do if he were jailed, Republican National Committee Co-Chair Lara Trump told CNN: “Well, they’re gonna do what they’ve done from the beginning, which is remain calm and protest at the ballot box on November 5th. There’s nothing to do other than make your voices heard loud and clear and speak out against this.”

Some Trump supporters have hung US flags upside down following the verdict. The inverted flag has been a symbol of distress or protest in America for over 200 years.

At least one Democratic lawmaker expressed concern on Sunday about the potential for Trump’s supporters to respond violently to his conviction.

“His base listens to him. They don’t listen to Lara Trump. And this is another dangerous appeal to violence,” Democratic US Representative Adam Schiff told CNN.

But US House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Trump ally, said any response must be lawful.

“We are the rule of law party – chaos is not a conservative value. We have to fight back and we will with everything in our arsenal. But we do that within the confines of the rule of law,” Johnson told “Fox News Sunday.”

The matter is unlikely to be resolved before the November presidential election, when he will seek to take back the White House from Biden. Opinion polls show a close race between the two men and suggest that his conviction could hurt him with some Republican voters and independents.

Trump still faces three other criminal cases, including two over alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 loss, although they are not likely to come to trial or conclude before the election. He denies wrongdoing in all the cases and has called the charges a Democratic conspiracy to prevent him from competing.

Biden has sought to defend the nation’s justice system, saying it is “reckless” and “dangerous” to call the verdict “rigged.” The US Justice Department denies any political interference.

– REUTERS

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