Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on April 4 to a 34-count indictment accusing him of falsifying business records to conceal alleged money payments. The social media posts misleadingly claim that Trump “faces up to 30 years in prison” if convicted. But legal experts said Trump was unlikely to serve any jail time.
As we wrote beforeThe case centers on allegations that during the 2016 presidential election, Trump conspired to pay $130,000 to silence porn actress Stormy Daniels over a sexual encounter and then falsified business records to cover up violations of federal and state election law.
Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges before being released and returning that night to his home in Florida, where he had been. Address the supporters. The next court session is scheduled for December.
After the indictment, social media users began making misleading predictions about Trump’s possible prison sentence if convicted.
Under New York State Penal Code, it is an offense to falsify business records in the first degree Class E nonviolent felony. Possibility of imprisonment for the crime can range From one and a half to four years in prison.
April 4th Instagram post, which includes fake Computer generated picture Commentary on Trump’s arrest was made with the allegation that Trump “faces up to 30 years if found guilty”. The post has garnered more than 9,000 likes.
in the same day, governor comedian Take Terrence K. Williams made this claim on Facebook misleadingly advertisement“President Trump faces up to 136 years in prison if found guilty of all 34 felonies.” This post has over 85,000 views and over 6,000 likes.
Misreading of the state’s penal code
Legal experts told FactCheck.org that a prison sentence is unlikely for Trump — and if imposed, the sentence wouldn’t be as long as the publications suggest.
It is not uncommon for first-time offenders of Class E nonviolent felonies to receive a prison sentence. (Probation, fines and more mandatory community service common types of sentences.)
“The typical white-collar offender, convicted of a nonviolent crime, with no prior record, will not receive a prison sentence.” John C Coffey Jra professor of criminal justice at Columbia Law School told us in an email dated April 5.
Even if Trump were found guilty and sentenced to prison, which Covey suggested could happen if the judge wanted to “signify that no one is above the law,” the total sentence would not come close to “30 years or more,” as in the case of Instagram. post proposed.
This is because the majority of non-violent felony sentences are served at one timeor simultaneously, And not straight, which occurs when the convict is imprisoned for the total time accumulated from multiple counts. The concurrent ruling means Trump cannot be imprisoned for more than four years, the maximum possible sentence for a single count of falsifying business records.
It is likely that the sentences handed down against him on various charges will be carried out simultaneously. This means imprisonment for a maximum of four years. Claire Finkelsteinthe director of the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center for Public Policy told us in an email dated April 5.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org It is one of several organisations Work with Facebook To expose misinformation circulating on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has Do not judge on our editorial content.
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