What is the highest sentence Trump could receive if convicted of tax fraud? Could he go to jail?
The impending arraignment has got people wondering what the worse punishment could be for the former president, but legal experts think he will avoid jail.
Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States, could soon be facing a criminal trial. Under the auspices of New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a grand jury has decided to bring charges against Trump in relation to a $130,000 payment to former pornstar Stormy Daniels in the build-up to the 2016 presidential election.
Though the exact charges have not yet been revealed, CNN reported that the former president could be facing up to 30 counts, including at least one felony, related to fraudulent bookkeeping and tax fraud. Specifically this would relate to failing to declare the payment through his then lawyer Michael Cohen, who went to jail for his role in the payment. As well there is speculation that they may include campaign financing violations.
It will be a long time before any verdict is given as the case would need to go to what would inevitably a very publicised trial. But if it is guilty there can be some idea what would happen next.
What could the outcome of a guilty verdict be?
Should Trump stand trial and his lawyers lose, then Trump would be sentenced for a felony charge of tax fraud and/or falsifying business records.
The law states, under IRC § 7201, any person who willfully attempts to evade or defeat taxes can be charged with a felony, with penalties including up to $100,000 in fines, up to five years in prison, and the costs of prosecution.
Trump will have to be charged with a felony as the five-year limit for a misdemeanour crime has elapsed. Tax law felonies must be proven that they assisted in another crime.
In the case of a felony charge of falsifying business records, were Trump to be convicted, he could face up to four years in prison. Likewise, this would normally be a misdemeanour and for it to be considered a felony the DA will have to show that there was the intention of committing, aiding or concealing a second crime.
“There will still be a mug shot, fingerprints and lots of paperwork filled out as part of the booking process, says former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner. “So we will see a mug shot of a former president of the United States, but I do not think we’re going to see a perp walk.”