Trump’s conviction in New York unlikely to affect bond in Georgia case

But felonies could influence sentencing if he is found guilty in Georgia

Even though Donald Trump is now a felon, his conviction Thursday in the New York hush money trial is not expected to affect his bond conditions in the Fulton County election interference case.

After being indicted here last August, Trump surrendered at the jail in Atlanta and was released on a $200,000 bond. One condition of the bond says that Trump “shall not violate the laws” of Georgia or any other U.S. jurisdiction.

But that applies only to actions moving forward. In the New York case, the criminal conduct occurred years ago, noted Atlanta criminal defense attorney Noah Pines. That means it will not impact his bond here, he said.

Former Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter agreed.

“The crime occurred before the bond was set and he was convicted after it was set,” he said. “That won’t affect his bond conditions here.”

Even though the cases in New York and Atlanta are vey different, Fulton DA Fani Willis was clearly interested in how the first prosecution of Trump would play out. Grant Rood, an assistant district attorney from Fulton County, was spotted in the Manhattan courtroom for at least some of the testimony.

With no television cameras permitted, it was the only way to get a first-hand look.

Conviction could matter in sentencing

In the Fulton case, Trump is charged with overseeing a racketeering conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia and other felonies. His lead attorney, Steve Sadow, has said the former president committed no crime.

When the election interference case here goes to trial, Fulton prosecutors could try to put Trump’s conviction in New York before the jury as character evidence, said Pines, a former prosecutor.

“But it would only be allowed if they can show a permissible purpose behind it,” he said. “They could argue that when things go bad for him, he tries to lie and cheat his way out of it.”

A prior conviction also will be taken into consideration if Trump is convicted in the Fulton racketeering case, Pines said. “Any criminal history you have can definitely affect what kind of sentence you get,” he said.

‘Situations are different’

Overall, Trump’s conviction in New York should have little if any affect on the Fulton case or the two brought by special counsel Jack Smith in Washington and Florida, said Richard Sarafini, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney.

“Each of the other three indictments are standalone indictments, they don’t charge the same things, the fact situations are different,” said Serafini, now a Florida-based lawyer who specializes in defending white collar crime cases. “So I don’t think that legally it’ll have any effect.”

Serafini said the New York conviction could be something that is explored during jury selection in the election interference case.

“Clearly they’re going to have to question prospective jurors about their knowledge of the conviction in New York ... and would that influence them,” he said. “That’s a jury selection issue.”

Pines agreed. “Even though the New York case may not be allowed to be directly mentioned during jury selection, a juror’s possible bias would have to be seriously explored to see if it makes a difference,” he said.