Donald Trump is the Republican frontrunner heading into 2024, but his time on the campaign trail is riddled with legal proceedings. Voters are wanting to know if he can still become president for a second term even if found guilty and convicted of felonies.
The Charges Against Donald Trump
He’s facing 91 charges spanning four criminal cases. The charges are made up of 47 state charges and 44 federal charges, with most relating to obstruction. The former president has denied wrongdoing in every case. He’s also embroiled in a $250 million civil fraud case brought by the New York Attorney General’s Office in which he’s accused of repeated fraud and purposefully inflating the value of his properties in order to gain business advantages, insurance policies and real estate loans.
How Many Years in Prison is Donald Trump Facing?
If convicted fully of all 91 charges, Donald could be sentenced to 717.5 years in prison. It’s unlikely, however, that he would face the maximum sentences.
Can Donald Trump Be President While Facing Felony Charges?
For now, there’s no reason Donald, who’s the Republican frontrunner, can’t continue his quest as the cases play out in court. There are no laws or limits on his right to raise funds and campaign to become the 47th President of the United States just because he’s been accused.
Can Donald Trump Be President if Convicted of Felony Charges?
The U.S. Constitution is vague when it comes to presidential qualifications. You have to be 35 or older, a natural-born U.S. citizen and a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years. There’s no mention of criminal history or anything else prohibiting someone from running.
In November 2023, the Supreme Court bolstered Donald’s license to run when they shot down a case by John Anthony Castro, another Republican candidate for President. John argued Donald should be disqualified from running based on a provision in the 14th Amendment that prohibits Americans from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or “given aid” to insurrectionists. Castro said Donald’s involvement in the riot in the U.S. Capitol in January 2021 fits this bill.
The court disagreed. So, for now at least, Trump is free to continue his campaign. So, what happens if Donald is elected as president, and a conviction (or multiple convictions) lands him in prison? Could he serve as president from a cellblock somewhere?
No one seems to have a definitive answer to that question. Erwin Chemerinsky, a constitutional law expert at the University of California, Berkeley, told The New York Times there’s nothing in the Constitution that prohibits it. “We’re so far removed from anything that’s ever happened,” he told the paper. “It’s just guessing. I don’t think that the framers ever thought we were going to be in this situation.”
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