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Trump virtually attends pre-sentencing interview for hush-money conviction

Former president conducted interview at Mar-a-Lago

By Clyde Hughes & Allen Cone
Former President Donald Trump is expected to virtually attend a pre-sentencing interview following his conviction for falsifying business records. Pool Photo by Steven Hirsch/UPI
Former President Donald Trump is expected to virtually attend a pre-sentencing interview following his conviction for falsifying business records. Pool Photo by Steven Hirsch/UPI | License Photo

June 10 (UPI) -- Former President Donald Trump attended a pre-sentencing probation interview Monday after he was found guilty in his New York hush-money trial.

Trump appeared for the interview from his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., CNN reported.

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A female New York probation officer conducted the interview with Trump over a special virtual network that features increased security -- not Zoom -- NBC News reported.

Pre-sentencing interviews are usually routine for those convicted of state and federal crimes before sentencing, giving the judge additional insight and information before sentencing, however, it is rare for them to be conducted via video conference.

"Earlier today, President Trump completed a routine interview with [the] New York Probation Office. The interview was uneventful and lasted less than 30 minutes," the source said, adding, "The president and his team will continue to fight the lawless Manhattan DA Witch Hunt."

A Washington Post source also said the meeting lasted less than 30 minutes.

Trump answered all questions in the virtual interview and was described as polite, respectful and accommodating to the probation officer, according to a New York City official familiar with the interview.

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In another anomaly, Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the case, signed an order last week allowing Trump attorney Todd Blanche to be present for the interview even though they are usually conducted outside of the presence of the defendant's lawyers.

Merchan will get a chance to examine the interview before sentencing Trump on July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention where the GOP is expected to formally name him their candidate to run against Democratic President Joe Biden in the November general election.

While Trump could be sentenced to up to four years in prison, most legal experts expect him to receive probation given his lack of a previous criminal record age, among other issues that could be considered.

As he approaches sentencing, Trump has remained defiant, promising to appeal and calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to step in.

"President Trump and his legal team are already taking necessary steps to challenge and defeat the lawless Manhattan [district attorney's] case," Steven Cheung, Trump's campaign spokesman, said in a Sunday statement.

A Manhattan jury found Trump guilty last month on 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up hush-money payments for adult film actress Stormy Daniels to protect his 2016 election chances.

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Trump will meet with a group of Republican senators in Washington, D.C., on Thursday after he addresses the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group, NBC and The Hill reported.

"I believe it will be helpful to hear directly from President Trump about his plans for the summer and to also share our ideas fora strategic governing agenda in 2025," wrote John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who is No. 3 in the Senate Republican leadership, to the senators in an email obtainedby NBC.

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