Trump will have virtual interview with probation official on Monday

Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of the day’s proceedings during his criminal trial in Manhattan on Friday morning, May 3, 2024. Trump, who is accused of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal that threatened to derail his 2016 campaign, faces 34 felony counts. (Doug Mills/The New York Times

Former President Donald Trump, who was convicted last month on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, is expected to have a virtual interview with a New York City Probation Department official today, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

The interview is required as the agency prepares a sentencing recommendation for the judge in the case.


Trump will be in his home at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, for the virtual meeting — his first with a probation official since he became the first U.S. president to be convicted of a felony.

A jury in Manhattan found him guilty May 30 in a hush-money case stemming from a payment that Trump’s then-fixer, Michael Cohen, made to Stormy Daniels, a porn actor who said she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. The payment came in the final days of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and the creation of 34 false business records to cover up Trump’s reimbursement of Cohen came in early 2017, after he was elected.

Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee, has returned to Florida since the verdict. One of his lawyers, Todd Blanche, will be present for the interview, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.

It is unusual for a lawyer to be present for a Probation Department interview, according to current and former agency officials and several defense lawyers with experience dealing with the agency. And since the coronavirus pandemic has waned, virtual interviews have become far less common.

But Justice Juan M. Merchan, who presided over the former president’s criminal trial and will hand down his sentence, signed off on the arrangement, the person with knowledge of the meeting said.

The timing of the interview was first reported by NBC News.

Trump is expected to be sentenced July 11 and could receive a punishment ranging from probation to up to four years in prison. He is appealing the verdict.

“President Trump and his legal team are already taking necessary steps to challenge and defeat the lawless Manhattan DA case,” Steven Cheung, Trump’s campaign spokesperson, said in a statement Sunday.

In New York state, after a person is convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor, a probation officer must prepare a presentence report, which the judge uses to help determine the defendant’s punishment.

In some instances, the defendant can also be interviewed by a social worker or psychologist working for the Probation Department. Such reports also include a defendant’s criminal history, if he or she has one, and the probation officer often interviews the arresting officer in the case and the defendant’s family members and friends. Presentence reports also offer a defendant’s lawyer an opportunity to make positive statements about the defendant.

As part of the preparation of the report, the official is likely to ask Trump about what occurred that led to the charges against him.

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