Now a Convicted Felon

Been waiting for Joyce Vance to comment. And why? Bio Now: Law Prof, MSNBC/NBC Legal Analyst, Podcaster Before: US Atty, Fed’l prosecutor. Always: Wife, Mom, Dogs, Cats & Chickens, Knitting.

We are hearing from many people who simply refuse to accept the fact the man is an instigator of the attack on the capital, a briber of people to hide the truth, and threatens people directly or indirectly. A proven and convicted Felon. Perhaps, Joyce’s rundown will give you a better foundation as to why trump should be guilty, and brought to trial again for other crimes.



by Joyce Vance

Civil Discourse

Last night, Donald Trump posted on Truth Social that what happened to him wasn’t a prosecution. He called it a persecution. He was wrong. It’s a conviction. Donald Trump is now a convicted felon.

Americans have let Trump shake their faith in many of our democratic institutions our country is built on, From the start of his first campaign, Trump denigrated immigrants as criminals. He challenged confidence in our elections, the work of the intelligence community, the Justice Department, military leaders, and perhaps most dangerously of all, public health officials during a deadly pandemic. Now, and unsurprisingly, he’s after the jury system that convicted him. He’s spent months calling prosecutors, judges, and witnesses corrupt and putting them and their families in danger.

Trump has plenty of surrogates to do his bidding. He has no concerns about exposing the 12 brave Americans who served on the jury that convicted him to the risk of harassment and violence. NBC reported that a non-profit that conducts public interest research found posts that contained addresses of people claimed to be jurors on a message board known for pro-Trump content.

It is long past time to draw a line and stop the damage Trump is doing to democracy. But still, Republicans pander to him shamelessly.

At the time the Access Hollywood Tape was released, Senator Lee said, “I respectfully ask you [Trump] with all due respect, to step aside. Step down,” in a Facebook video. He mentioned the women in his family and said that if someone spoke to them like Trump had, “I wouldn’t hire that person, wouldn’t want to be associated with that person … I certainly don’t think I would feel comfortable hiring that person to be the leader of the free world.” But Lee has endorsed Trump in this election and apparently has no intention of backing away.

Independents and other voters may take a different view. Guilt is a powerful word. There are polls that suggest it may exert a gravitational pull over some voters who might have otherwise voted for Trump. We are in for a long, hard time heading into the November election, where the future of democracy will hang in the balance, not metaphorically, like candidates sometimes say it will in the next election, but in a very real, concrete sense.

Hunter Biden, the President’s son, goes on trial Monday. Keep that in mind as Donald Trump claims the system has been politicized against him.

Trump will be sentenced on July 11, five days before the start of the Republican National Convention. There has been a lack of clarity in the reporting about the sentence Trump faces. That’s because of the way New York handles this type of Class E felony, which a friend in a New York DA’s office called “loosey goosey.” As I understand it, the Judge can sentence to a range as high as 1 3/4 to 4 years, but it will be up to the Parole Board to determine how much of that sentence he actually serves. And the Judge does not have to impose a custodial sentence, he can go all the way down to probation if he chooses to. My understanding of how this works is still evolving, and I’ll update you as we learn more.

What we do know is that, like in every other case, the probation department will conduct an assessment of the now-convicted defendant and create a presentence investigation that provides the Judge with the information necessary to arrive at the appropriate sentence. In his press conference this morning, the District Attorney did not say whether he would seek a custodial sentence. There is every reason to ask for one here, including Trump’s repeated, atrocious violations of the gag order in the case. It is a first time, nonviolent offense, so the Judge may not impose custody, but the People have every right to ask for it here.

Even if the Judge imposes a custodial sentence, expect to see Trump remain free on bond during the pendency of the appeal. That would be consistent with the principle that permits a defendant who raises serious issues on appeal to do so. Trump does have some serious issues to raise, whether or not he succeeds. I don’t expect him to, but he is entitled to the same right all defendants have to pursue an appeal. The Judge would be well within his rights to condition an appeal bond on strict adherence to the terms of the gag order.

The issues we will likely see surface on appeal include:

  • Whether Stormy Daniels’ testimony exceeded what was permissible and unduly prejudiced Trump. This will be contested, but the Judge let her testimony in to complete the story of the crime, and in any event, defense questions opened the door to her testimony.
  • Whether it was error to permit the DA to use a federal campaign finance fraud crime as the object offense that converted the misdemeanor into a felony. This is a pure legal issue, and the weight of the evidence appears to be on the People’s side, but there are some unique issues here that need to be litigated.
  • Whether the Judge was correct to permit the jury to return a verdict that was unanimous about the object crime but not the means used to accomplish it. We’ve discussed this previously and again, it’s a legal issue where the DA appears to have a strong argument.
  • Whether there was sufficient evidence to support the verdict. Defendants frequently argue this on appeal but only rarely win. The question is whether a reasonable jury could have found the defendant guilty, and there was sufficient evidence here to support that conclusion.

There will be others too, but these are some of the main ones to expect. None of this will happen until after Trump is sentenced in July, and the process will take time, so we will deal with it when it happens.

This sentiment, or something akin to it, is circulating widely on social media.

Here’s my response: Trump was convicted by a jury of his peers who heard all the evidence and found him guilty. We should trust the jury.

Trump claims the indictment was a Democratic ploy. There is no evidence to support that. It doesn’t make sense that 12 jurors, picked from a randomly summoned pool with Trump’s lawyers’ full involvement, a jury that included members who claimed Truth Social or the Wall St. Journal as primary news sources, would have unanimously found him guilty if he wasn’t. Occam’s Razor says to look first to the simplest answer. There is no need for conspiracy theories here. The jury convicted Trump because he was guilty.

Trump will spin the verdict, as he did this morning in a long and less than lucid press conference.

Americans should ignore him and use the same common sense the jury did. The jurors saw every piece of evidence first hand; they considered it all together. They decided it met the government’s burden of proving Donald Trump guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In our system of justice, that is their decision to make.

It is well worth making this point with anyone who questions the verdict. What approach would they rather have American justice use? A king? Is it Donald Trump who now metes out justice in America?

A better question: Why aren’t there calls for Trump to step down as the nominee? That is how any other politician would be treated.

Trump said the real verdict on his case will come on November 5. I hope so. I’m ready to get to work on that, and I bet you are too.

We’re in this together,