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Trump to sit for probation interview on Monday

Former US President Donald Trump

Donald Trump will sit for a virtual interview with a probation officer from his home in Florida on Monday, part of the sentencing process for his felony conviction in the New York hush-money case.

The first former US president criminally convicted, Trump will appear from Mar-a-Lago and will be seated alongside his lawyer Todd Blanche, a source with knowledge of the matter told CBS News, the BBC’s US partner.

A New York City probation officer will use the interview in a pre-sentencing report for Justice Juan Merchan, who is currently deciding what punishment Trump must face.

Trump was convicted last month of 34 counts of falsifying business records and is expected to be sentenced on 11 July.

A former commissioner for the New York City Department of Correction and Probation told NBC News that it is not normal for a probation interview to take place virtually.

“It is highly unusual for a pre-sentence investigation interview to be done over Zoom,” said Martin Horn.

But he added that any visit by Trump to the courthouse in downtown Manhattan would be “very disruptive” to other court business, especially given the presence of the Secret Service and media, and could be unfair to other defendants who might not want to be identified.

“So in the end, this might be better for the probation officer,” he said.

Convicts in the New York Court system do not usually have their lawyers present for probation interviews, according to the Associated Press.

However, Judge Merchan has allowed Mr Blanche to appear alongside his client on Monday.

Pre-sentencing reports include information about a convict’s personal life, criminal history, financial means, health condition and overall living arrangement.

They are used by the judge to inform what punishment should be given.

The interview is often an opportunity for a convict to argue for leniency in the sentence.

Jurors found Trump guilty of falsifying business records to conceal hush money payments made to former porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election campaign.

Most legal commentators believe that Trump is unlikely to face any jail time, given his lack of criminal history and age.

Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. He has repeatedly claimed without evidence that the prosecution in New York is politically motivated and an attempt to prevent him from retaking the White House in November’s election.

He has also said he will appeal the conviction.

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