US presidential elections 2024: Can Donald Trump still become president if convicted in hush-money case?

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Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for November’s US presidential poll’s Republican ticket, face charges stemming from a hush-money payment to a porn star that could complicate his bid to win back the White House.

Although it isn’t the fist time the former president is in court, it is the first criminal trial of any former US commander-in-chief and the first of Trump’s four indictments to reach trial.

The trial will produce the head-spinning split-screen of a presidential candidate spending his days in court and, he has said, “campaigning during the night.”

The 77-year-old businessman-turned-politician, who served as president from 2017 to 2021, has used past court appearances to rally his supporters and claim he is being persecuted by his political enemies.

New York state prosecutors accuse him of falsifying records to cover up a $130,000 payment in the waning days of the 2016 presidential campaign to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels about a 2006 sexual encounter she has said they had.

Trump has denied any such relationship. He pleaded not guilty last year to 34 counts of falsification of business records in the case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, in New York state court.

This brings us to the most important question of the November US polls: Can Trump still run for the US President if convicted?

Yes! No matter the outcome of the hush-money case, Donald Trump will still be able to run for the US president.

According to the US Constitution, there are only three requisites to be a US president:

  • They must be a natural-born citizen of the United States.
  • They be at least 35 years old.
  • They have resided in the US for at least 14 years.

Nowhere in the US constitution does it say that a convicted person cannot run for or become president of the country.

According to a Deutsche Welle report, there are some activists who want Trump to be disqualified under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, referring to his actions in the run-up to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol constitute participation in an insurrection.

According to the aforementioned clause, people who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” after taking an oath to support the constitution are disqualified from holding “any office, civil or military, under the United States.”

The activists, according to the report said his lies about how Democrats stole the election encouraged the right-wing mob that stormed the US Capitol that day.

A Reuters report, citing legal experts, said the Supreme Court would need to rule by about June 1 for Trump’s trial on the election-related charges to finish before November 5. 

If Trump regains the presidency, he could seek to force an end to the prosecution or potentially pardon himself of any federal crimes. Trump has pledged to pardon January 6 defendants. 

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Published: 15 Apr 2024, 10:50 PM IST

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