Can Trump still run for president? Local legal expert weighs in on guilty verdict

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Thursday’s verdict finding former President Donald Trump guilty on 34 felony counts could leave voters with questions about whether this will legally impact the presidential campaign.

News 4 spoke with one local legal expert on what this case means not only for the nation, but for voters. 

“The historical significance now of the prosecution of a president, showing that you can successfully have a trial of a president,” legal expert Barry Covert said.

It took a jury of 12 New Yorkers two days of deliberation to reach a verdict on Thursday, which found Donald Trump guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records.

“Just extraordinary that they were unanimous on that many counts that quickly,” Covert said. “It really is going to change the landscape when it comes to prosecuting politicians, former politicians, what we think we can do as a jurist in our society, what we think we can pull off in the courtroom.”

Trump is now tabbed with the lowest level felony in New York State, which carries a maximum prison term of four years.

However, Covert said for a first time offender like Trump, prison isn’t likely.

“No client of mine that had no criminal history that was charged with something similar to this ever really faced the possibility of incarceration,” he said.

Neighbors News 4 spoke to feel that the right precedent was set, showing no one is above the law.

“That was the biggest thing for me, holding people accountable,” Buffalo resident Joshua Bullock said. “If I have to follow the rules, everyone has to.”

A big question for voters is whether Trump can vote for himself in the upcoming election. Covert said he can, provided he remains out of prison in New York State.

Although Trump is a resident of Florida, the Sunshine State defers to other states’ disenfranchisement rules for residents convicted of out-of-state felonies.

“Let’s also keep in mind that he has the right to appeal this,” Covert added. “There’s every possibility that, as in any of the cases, a possibility that this case could be brought back if there were any errors that the appellate division agrees with.”

Trump’s name will still be on the ballot for the office of president in November.

Nothing in the U.S. constitution doesn’t allow a felon from running or becoming the president of the United States.

Covert said Trump can even run from behind bars.

“I think it’s definitely going to lead to more money that he gets,” he said. “Is it going to take the marginal voters and they’re not going to want to vote for a felon? We don’t know that. That is all to be seen.”

The sentencing for Trump is scheduled for July 11, just days before the Republican Party is set to formally nominate him for president, before the Nov. 5 election.  

Latest Local News

Local legal expert weighs in on Trump’s guilty verdict

Buffalo man found guilty of murder

Buffalo man faces max 20 years for fentanyl distribution

Man sentenced for shooting woman, firing rifle in clinic

Fire on Transit Road causes $100K in damage

Dillon Morello is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has been part of the News 4 team since September of 2023. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *