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Despite Donald Trump’s criminal conviction for covering up hush money payment to a porn star, it will not prevent him from pursuing his campaign to retake the White House. The U.S. Constitution only requires presidents to be at least 35 years old and U.S. citizens who have lived in the country for 14 years. A criminal conviction or prison sentence would not affect Trump’s eligibility or ability to become president. In theory, he could be sworn in from jail if he were to unseat Democratic President Joe Biden in the upcoming election.

It is not yet known what sentence, if any, the judge will impose on Trump. Trump is a first-time offender for a nonviolent crime, and it is rare for people with no criminal history to be sentenced to prison in New York for falsifying business records. Punishments like fines or probation are more common. The maximum sentence for Trump’s crime is 1-1/3 to four years in prison, but in cases involving prison time, defendants are typically sentenced to a year or less. If punished beyond a fine, Trump could be placed under home confinement or subjected to a curfew rather than imprisoned. He could also be released on bail while appealing his conviction.

While the hush money case is considered the least consequential of the four criminal prosecutions Trump faces, the guilty verdict could have implications for the election. Opinion polls suggest that a guilty verdict could cost Trump votes in an election that will potentially be decided by just tens of thousands of votes in battleground states. One in four Republicans said they would not vote for Trump if he was found guilty in a criminal trial, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll of registered voters in April. In the same survey, 60% of independents said they would not vote for Trump if he was convicted of a crime.

As a former president with a lifetime Secret Service detail, the logistics of keeping Trump safe behind bars could be complicated if he were sentenced to prison. Trump could also potentially be placed under home confinement or subjected to a curfew rather than imprisoned, if punished beyond a fine. He could also be released on bail while appealing his conviction. Jailhouse presidential campaigns are not unprecedented in U.S. history, as Socialist Eugene Debs unsuccessfully ran for president from prison in the 1920 election, although he was not a serious contender.

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