Trump conviction appeal: When will it happen; how does it work?

Hours after former President Donald Trump was found guilty on 34 charges of falsifying business records, his attorney said Trump intended to appeal the jury’s verdicts.

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Todd Blanche told CNN that the appeal of the convictions would be filed “as soon as we can.”

“As soon as we can appeal, we will,” Blanche said, noting that the defense first had court issues to resolve with Judge Juan Merchan.

The attorneys cannot file an appeal before the July 11 sentencing.

Trump was convicted on criminal charges stemming from a $130,000 hush money payment his ex-attorney Michael Cohen made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. Cohen paid Daniels just before the 2016 election to cover up allegations of an affair with Trump, something Trump denies happened. Trump then reimbursed Cohen through a series of checks paid throughout 2017, after he was elected president. Prosecutors alleged those checks were falsely labeled as being for legal services.

Trump’s defense said the checks were properly labeled because Cohen was serving as Trump’s attorney at the time.

Was the conviction a surprise, and was an appeal on the table all along?

Blanche said that Trump’s defense team was “prepared for a conviction” and they would “vigorously fight” it by filing motions before Merchan within a couple of weeks.

Reasons for appealing a verdict vary by case. According to some legal scholars, there are a few issues Trump’s attorneys could include in an appeal.

According to Blanche, while the jury worked hard to be attentive and deliberate thoughtfully, it was “very hard for us to get a fair trial” because all the jury members “knew Donald Trump.”

“Every single person on the jury knew Donald Trump as president, either as president, as candidate, from ‘The Apprentice,’ so I don’t accept that this was a fair place to try President Trump,” Blanche said.

“Our system of justice isn’t supposed to be a system where every person that walks in the courtroom knows about the case.”

Blanche went on to say that he believed the testimony of Stormy Daniels was allowed to go on too long and included lurid, irrelevant details.

He said he also felt the jury “looked past what we thought were fatal flaws” in former Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s testimony.

CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor and a Rutgers University scholar, said Friday that he believes the strongest issue for an appeal by Trump would be that a state prosecutor filed charges against Trump on a federal election issue.

“That’s the first time that has happened,” Honig said.

When will the appeal be filed?

According to Blanche, the appeal will be filed after the July 11 sentencing. Motions concerning the case will be filed within a couple of weeks.

What happens then?

Trump will have 30 days after he’s sentenced on July 11 to file a notice of appeal—meaning he plans to appeal —and then six months to file a full appeal of how the case was handled in court. A person does not appeal a verdict, but how the verdict may have been reached concerning how things were handled in court.

The appeals process will take time and might not be fully underway by the November election.

He’ll appeal the verdict first to an intermediate appellate court, the First Judicial Department of New York’s Appellate Division. If the appeal is unsuccessful there, he can then ask New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to take up the case.

Should he not win there, he could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, though the highest court in the land does not have to hear the case if it chooses not to.

That process could take months or even years to conclude.

So, will he be sentenced in July, can he go to prison?

He is scheduled for sentencing on July 11 and could be sent to prison.

While it is Judge Merchan’s decision, Trump will likely be allowed to remain free on bail -- with restrictions -- pending his appeal.

Both Trump’s attorneys and prosecutors are expected to submit requests to the court of what they believe Trump’s sentence should be, and Trump will have to attend a pre-sentencing interview at the court’s probation office. The probation department will also make recommendations about sentencing.

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