What Are Your Rights: Legal Insight Into The Trump Criminal Case
Recorded on April 5, 2023
Former President, Trump, has pleaded not guilty to charges brought against him by a Manhattan District Attorney’s office in connection with an investigation into a hush money payment made in the closing days of the 2016 election. This marks the first time in U.S. history that a president has been charged with a crime.
In this week’s “What Are Your Rights?” segment, managing partner Paul Harding of Harding Mazzotti, LLP is on CBS6 to discuss the indictment.
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Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Harding Mazzoti,
Interviewer: Former President, Trump, has pleaded not guilty to charges brought against him by a Manhattan District Attorney’s office in connection with an investigation into a hush money payment made in the closing days of the 2016 election. This marks the first time in U.S. history that a president has been charged with a crime. Now, here to discuss his indictment is managing partner, Paul Harding, from the law firm of Harding Mazzotti. Paul, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon.
Paul: Good afternoon. Wow. Yeah.
Interviewer: So this obviously been dominating the news cycles, Trump indicted by this grand jury and Manhattan convened by the Manhattan DA’s office. So what, I guess, is the role of the grand jury?
Paul: So they have nothing to do with guilt or innocence, right? So it’s a charging instrument, and the standard is the most simple standard in the world. It really is just something like, is there a reasonable cause to think, right? It’s one step above a police officer witnessing something and arresting somebody and formally charging them. So to get the indictments easy, to get the criminal conviction, which the Manhattan District Attorney hopes to get, is gonna be yet another thing.
Interviewer: And what is a possible timeframe that we would be looking at before a trial?
Paul: Well, they said temporary. They basically said nine months is what the prosecuting agency wants. They wanna kind of do this thing in September, the defense said, we need a year, but in between there’ll be hearings, there’ll be motions to dismiss the case, and there’s just gonna be a whole lot of activity, including media activity and people potentially using the media to try to get some favor and to try to get some disfavor. So the circus begins.
Interviewer: So a lot of people wondering if he’s found guilty, could he still run for president in 2024?
Paul: Yeah. You know, also a little president on that. None. Right. But there’s nothing to run. There’s nothing in the Constitution that says you can’t run for president with a felony conviction. So I guess he can, right? He can run for president. You know, if he’s sentenced, then if he’s sentenced, if he’s in jail with some procedural issues, you know, running the country, being, you know, not necessarily on the outside, as they say. So, but, no, I think he could run. There’s nothing that says he can’t. Although we’ll hear more about that also.
Interviewer: Yeah. And then if he does end up being convicted, what is the likely punishment for the charges?
Paul: Yeah. You know, I gotta like handicap this one, right? Because you can look at 34 counts and you can say it’s four years per count, but really, it’s the same. But if he’s found guilty, my handicap is that he doesn’t do any jail time at all, that he would be found guilty of a felony, but, you know, good behavior, right? President of the United States, whether it’s good or bad, but his life has not been one of crime, so he’s probably a likely candidate to get a minimal, or more than likely, no sentence at the end of this, with a conviction, which I say will not be an easy feat for the prosecutor to pull off.
Interviewer: We’re just gonna have to see what happens.
Paul: We’re gonna be watching this for the next year, I’ll bet. Yeah.
Interviewer: I was gonna say. All right, Attorney Harding, thank you so much for being with us this afternoon.
Paul: You’re welcome. Thank you
Interviewer: For more information covered in our weekly, “What are your Right Segments,” or to send us in a story idea, just go to our website, cbs6albany.com.