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Donald Trump completes the mandatory presentation interview after less than 30 minutes of questioning



Donald Trump completes the mandatory presentation interview after less than 30 minutes of questioning

NEW YORK – Donald Trump completed his mandatory presentation interview Monday after less than 30 minutes of routine, boring questions and answers, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and did so on condition of anonymity.

The former president was questioned by a New York City probation officer for a legally required report that Judge Juan M. Merchan could use to determine Trump’s sentence when he is sentenced in his criminal case on July 11. hush money criminal case.

Monday’s interview was conducted privately via video conferencing. Under state law, the resulting report — which could also include information about Trump’s conviction, his social, family and employment history, and his education and economic status — will remain confidential unless a judge authorizes its public release.

Trump’s lawyers and prosecutors will receive copies, but that usually only happens just before sentencing. Both parties can also submit their own paperwork to Merchan, advocating how they believe Trump should be punished.

Merchan has the discretion to impose a wide range of penalties following Trump’s May 30 conviction for falsifying corporate records to cover up a possible sex scandal, ranging from probation and fines to up to four years in prison.

After refusing to testify at the trial, Trump was legally obligated to participate in Monday’s presentation interview — he did so via video from his residence at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, with his attorney Todd Blanche by his side.

The arrangement drew complaints about special treatment for a celebrity defendant, but city officials argued that was not the case and said such accommodations are available to anyone subject to a presentation interview.

Normally, people convicted of crimes in New York meet face-to-face with probation officers for required presentation interviews and are not allowed to have attorneys with them. After Blanche objected to Trump answering the questions alone, Merchan allowed the lawyer to sit in on Trump’s interview.

The city’s public defenders on Monday criticized what they called “special arrangements” for Trump and urged the probation department to “ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, status or class, are given the same opportunities prior to sentencing.”

“All people convicted of crimes should have an attorney at their probation hearing, not just billionaires,” four of the city’s public defenders said in a statement. “This is just another example of our two-tiered justice system.”

“Pre-sentencing interviews with probation officers influence sentencing, and public defenders are not allowed to accompany their clients to these meetings. The ability to participate virtually in these interviews is also not typically extended to the people we represent,” said the statement from the Legal Aid Society, Bronx Defenders, New York County Defender Services and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem.

A spokesperson for the city, which heads the probation department, said defendants have had the option to conduct their presentation interviews via video since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. Ivette Dávila-Richards, deputy press secretary for Mayor Eric Adams , said all defendants can also request that their lawyers be present at the hearings, as long as the judge in their case agrees.

“Trump did not receive any special treatment,” Dávila-Richards said. “He is treated like any suspect convicted of a crime. Just because he is so famous, everyone makes it bigger than it is.”

A message seeking comment was left with a spokesperson for the state court system.