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What rights does Trump lose as a felon? Answers to that question and more

How Trump’s guilty verdict impacts the election

(CNN) — Donald Trump’s conviction by a New York jury on 34 felony counts is historic and unprecedented. No former president or major party presidential candidate has also been a felon.

When CNN asked readers for their questions, a flood came in. Some of the more interesting and most-asked questions are below. And if there’s something we didn’t get to, ask us here.

What are felons barred from doing?

It varies by state. In New York, where Trump was convicted, there are “collateral consequences” of being convicted of a felony. Importantly, felons in New York cannot hold many public offices, including elected positions. But Trump is no longer a New York resident.

In Florida, felons lose civil rights, including the ability to hold public office and serve on a jury.

While he can’t hold office in Florida or New York, there’s nothing in the Constitution to bar him from running for president.

Can Trump get his rights back?

In New York, a felon can apply for a Certificate of Good Conduct to restore all rights after a certain period of time. The charges against Trump are Class E felonies, for which the period is three years. Florida requires felons to apply for clemency through a special board, but in the case of out-of-state convictions like Trump’s, it defers to the state where the person was convicted.

If reelected, could Trump pardon himself?

Not in this case. Presidents have the power to issue pardons for federal offenses. Trump has been convicted of a felony in New York state court. That would require the pardon of New York’s governor, Democrat Kathy Hochul, who has praised his conviction.

Can Trump still vote?

Most likely. Trump is a Florida resident, and Florida defers to New York law on the question of felons voting. New York allows felons to vote as long as they are not incarcerated.

Will Trump get prison time?

His sentencing is set for July 11, four days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee. Judge Juan Merchan could technically impose prison time – felony falsifying business records can be punished with up to four years in prison. But Trump has been convicted of Class E felonies, the lowest level in New York law. He is also a first-time offender. That said, Merchan could take into account that Trump has repeatedly violated a gag order.

Would Trump get Secret Service protection if he were given time in prison?

Here’s what Secret Service chief of communications Anthony Guglielmi told CNN after the jury reached the guilty verdict: “Today’s outcome has no bearing on the manner in which the United States Secret Service carries out its protective mission. Our security measures will proceed unchanged.”

If Trump is elected president and the judge asks for prison time, could he be jailed while in office? How would that work?

No one knows exactly. Time in prison still seems relatively unlikely for this offense. One can imagine the US Supreme Court getting involved or the sentence being delayed until after his term, or even a pardon by the New York governor in the interest of the country. But these are all just possibilities.

Has anyone gone to prison for felony falsifying business records in New York?

Yes. A survey of past cases by the legal website Just Security found numerous examples of prison time being imposed for this offense. These types of convictions do not usually lead to jail time.

Can Trump travel abroad?

Trump’s conviction does not automatically prevent him from holding a U.S. passport. But it could make it difficult to travel to some countries.

Thirty-eight countries don’t allow felons to enter their borders, according to World Population Review, which says that some of those countries deny entry to felons “up front” while others do so only after such a conviction is “discovered.” That list includes Canada and Mexico, as well as Australia, China and South Africa.

Can Trump possess a firearm?

Federal law bars individuals convicted of a felony from possessing a firearm, and most states have analogous prohibitions. A case challenging the federal prohibition has been appealed to the US Supreme Court, but the justices have not yet said whether they will hear the challenge.

In New York, convicted felons cannot obtain a permit to possess a firearm. It’s possible for Trump to later petition a state judge to have his firearm possession rights restored.

In Florida, where Trump is a resident, the Sunshine State has a similar felon disarmament law on the books. That law bars people convicted of a felony in Florida courts from possessing a firearm and also extends that prohibition to individuals found guilty of a felony in another state.

But under Florida law, the state’s Clemency Board “will not consider requests for firearm authority from individuals convicted in federal or out-of-state courts,” according to the state.

Is there anything Congress could do to keep Trump from office?

Technically. But not likely. The Supreme Court ruled this year that Congress could keep Trump off ballots if it passed a special measure determining he took part in an insurrection. That’s not at issue in this New York case, and it’s not going to happen when Republicans control the House as they currently do.

The Constitution also allows for people who are impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate to be barred from federal office. Trump was impeached twice as president but acquitted twice in the Senate.

Is the gag order still in effect?

Yes. Appeals and the sentencing process are ongoing, so the gag order remains in effect. That means every time Trump criticizes a key witness like Michael Cohen, he dances up to the line of violating the gag order, which could lead to penalties like fines or even jail time.

Why is the Georgia election subversion case against Trump not moving forward? When might it begin?

The trial has been delayed by allegations of impropriety against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis for her relationship with a former prosecutor on the case. As a result, a trial date has not been set.

Trump’s two federal trials are also on ice. The judge in Florida overseeing the case in which federal prosecutors allege he mishandled classified documents and tried to hide them from the National Archives has proceeded very slowly and has allowed procedural questions to pile up. The trial is currently postponed indefinitely. In the federal election subversion case in Washington, DC, the Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on whether Trump should enjoy immunity from prosecution as a former president.

Why weren’t these charges brought years ago?

The hush money payoff took place just before the 2016 election. The fact of the payments was discovered in 2018. Federal prosecutors ultimately decided not to pursue charges against Trump related to the payments and so did a previous Manhattan DA, Cy Vance Jr. It was seen as a gamble when current Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg ultimately announced charges in April 2023.

If elected president as a felon, could Trump get security clearance?

It would be difficult for anyone with a felony conviction to get security clearance. But presidents do not need to obtain security clearance. The voters have essentially given them access to all the country’s secrets.

What was the crime that he committed that made these misdemeanors into felonies? Why not prosecute him for those crimes?

Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor in New York unless the crime is committed with intent to commit another crime. In this case, the other crimes were federal campaign violations.