NEW DELHI: Donald Trump had a mandatory introductory interview on Monday, which ended after less than 30 minutes of questions. Trump was interviewed by a New York City probation officer to prepare a report for Judge Joan M. Murchin ahead of Trump’s sentencing in the July 11 criminal case.

The report will help a judge determine Trump’s sentence on May 30 for falsifying business records related to a potential sex scandal. The judge has a range of options, ranging from probation and community service to up to four years in prison.

Trump, who did not testify during his trial, participated in the probation interview via video conference from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida. His lawyer, Todd Blanch, was present during the interview. The arrangement has drawn complaints of special treatment, but city officials say it’s not unusual.

Generally, convicts in New York must meet with probation officials in person for their presentence interviews and are not allowed to have their attorneys present. However, after Blanche’s objection, Judge Murchan allowed her to participate in Trump’s interview.

The city’s public defenders have criticized the special treatment for Trump and called for equal treatment for all convicted felons. He argued that all defendants should be allowed attorneys during their probation interviews, not just those with significant financial resources.

Attendance reports include the defendant’s personal history, criminal record, employment details, and any family obligations. These reports, prepared by probation officers, social workers, or psychologists, also give defendants an opportunity to explain why they believe they deserve a lighter sentence.

Trump’s conviction on 34 counts of falsifying business records stemmed from efforts to conceal payments made to adult film actor Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election. Daniels has alleged that she had a sexual relationship with Trump, which he denies.

Trump, a presumptive Republican presidential candidate, plans to appeal his conviction but will have to wait until after the sentencing. He maintained his innocence and claimed that the case was intended to harm his chances of winning the presidency again.
(with AP input)



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