April 18, 2024

Former FBI General Counsel and ex-federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said Donald Trump could get jail time if convicted for falsifying business records because he is a “recidivist.”

The former president is set to stand trial on April 15 in Manhattan, where he has been charged with cooking his books to conceal hush money payments to cover up extramarital affairs ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has repeatedly attacked those involved in the case, including District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Judge Juan Merchan. Moreover, Trump has singled out Merchan’s daughter by name. In response, Merchan slapped Trump with a gag order meant to prevent the defendant from attacking court staff and their families, though the order does not include Bragg and Merchan themselves.

Trump is also under indictment in three other jurisdictions. In all, he faces 88 criminal counts and has pleaded not guilty to all of them.

“If Trump were to be convicted in this case, what kind of penalty potentially could he be looking at?” Wolf Blitzer asked Weissmann on Tuesday’s episode of The Situation Room on CNN.

“He could be looking at jail,” Weissmann answered. “This is one where the judge I think is going to be looking at the rule of law to see how other people were treated, other people with a similar criminal background. I think this is an area where Donald Trump’s pretrial behavior is going to be relevant.”

Weissmann added that while remorseful defendants may receive consideration during sentencing, that is unlikely to be a concern in Trump’s case:

If you have someone who’s contrite, if you have someone who shares that he’s respectful of the rule of law, that this was an aberration, that is something that the court can take into account.

But if you think that the defendant actually is running basically as an outlaw and is basically thumbing his nose at the judicial process and shows no sign of remorse and essentially is a recidivist, those are factors that a judge can consider. And I am sure that a judge like Judge Merchan – if there were to be a conviction – is going to factor all of that in. But it’s just way too soon to say whether it would actually constitute jail time.

He added that while Trump has Secret Service protection, this would be unlikely to spare him prison were a judge so inclined to sentence him to do time.

“That’s something that can be worked out,” Weissmann said.

Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records. The charge is punishable by up to four years in prison.

Watch above via CNN.

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]