Trump has few ways to overturn his conviction

NEW YORK: “This is long from over,” Donald Trump, the former president and current felon, declared Thursday, moments after a Manhattan jury convicted him on 34 counts of falsifying records to cover up a sex scandal. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, is banking on the jury not having the final word on the case. He has already outlined a plan to appeal a verdict that Friday he labelled “a scam.”
But even if the former – and possibly future – president could persuade voters to ignore his conviction, the appellate courts might not be so sympathetic.Several legal experts cast doubt on his chances of success and noted that the case could take years to snake through the courts, all but ensuring he will still be a felon when voters head to the polls in Nov. And so, after a five-year investigation and a seven-week trial, Trump’s New York legal odyssey is only beginning.
The former president’s supporters are calling on the US Supreme Court to intervene, though that is highly unlikely. In a more likely appeal to a New York court, Trump would have avenues to attack the conviction, the experts said, but far fewer than he has claimed. The experts noted that the judge, whose rulings helped shape the case, stripped some of the prosecution’s most precarious arguments and evidence from the trial.
The appeal will be a referendum on the judge, Juan M Merchan, who steered the trial through political and legal minefields even as Trump hurled invective at him and his family. Merchan, a no-nonsense former prosecutor, said he was keenly aware “and protective of” Trump’s rights, including his right to “defend himself against political attacks.”
Mark Zauderer, a veteran New York litigator who sits on a committee that screens applicants for the same court that will hear Trump’s appeal, said that Merchan avoided pitfalls that often doom convictions. “This case has none of the usual red flags for reversal on appeal,” Zauderer said. “The judge’s demeanour was flawless.”
Even if Merchan’s rulings provide little fodder, Trump could challenge the foundation of the prosecution’s case. Trump’s lawyers note that Alvin L Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, used a novel theory to charge Trump with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. “I certainly don’t think there has been a prosecution of falsifying business records like this one,” said Barry Kamins, a retired judge and expert on criminal procedure who teaches at Brooklyn Law School. “This is all uncharted territory, as far as an appellate issue.”
Merchan will sentence Trump on July 11, just days before he attends the Republican National Convention to be anointed as the party’s presidential nominee. The judge could sentence him to as long as to four years in prison, or impose only probation.


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