Donald Trump conviction: what happens next?

Trump is pondering his next moves after his conviction for falsifying business records in New York (Getty Images)
Trump is pondering his next moves after his conviction for falsifying business records in New York (Getty Images)

Listen here on your chosen podcast platform.

In 2016, months before he authorised his then lawyer to buy the silence of Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump boasted that he could shoot somebody “in the middle of 5th Avenue” and get away with it among voters.

The theory is being to the test after the former real estate tycoon and reality TV star, in the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse on Thursday, became the first former president to be convicted of a crime.

Polls show that Mr Trump’s devoted red-capped fans will not care either way come November’s White House showdown against Joe Biden.

But what about voters in the middle ground, especially in the battleground states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where the race remains close?

Earlier polls pointed to disquiet among centrist voters about the prospect of a convict becoming commander-in-chief.

But Republican pollster Neil Newhouse was dismissive of the impact, arguing: “Voters have short memories and even shorter attention spans.”

He added: “Just as the former president’s two impeachments have done little to dim Trump’s support, this guilty verdict may be overshadowed in three weeks by the first presidential debate.”

However, one of the questions thrown up by the Manhattan verdict is whether the June 27 debate will even go ahead now.

President Biden could contend that it is beneath the dignity of his office to share a stage with a felon, and so inject yet more controversy into this most unusual of elections.

One point is clear: Nothing about Thursday’s events stops Mr Trump for running in November, even if he ends up in jail as a result.

The US constitution stipulates only that a presidential candidate must be at least 35, be a “natural-born” citizen and have lived in the country for at least 14 years.

But if he is jailed, can he still vote? No, not according to the law in New York which dictates that convicted felons lose the right to vote. The same applies in Florida, where Mr Trump has his legal residence.

However, a custodial sentence is seen by legal experts as unlikely for a first offence, and Mr Trump is expected to appeal his “rigged” conviction for falsifying business records.

Any appeal would likely push his Manhattan reckoning beyond November 4, just as his lawyers appear to have successfully deferred other trials.

One trial in Georgia, and two federal cases, are linked to Mr Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him and for his alleged retention of classified documents.