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Donald Trump’s probation interview

Following his conviction in Manhattan on all 34 felony counts, Donald Trump must have an interview with his New York City probation officer. Interviews are typically scheduled for 10 days after a conviction. That would be Monday, as the 10th day was Sunday.

Trump will likely navigate between the Scylla of wanting to stay out of jail and the Charybdis of performing for his base. He knows the officer’s pre-sentence report to the judge will get out. So here’s an imagined way the conversation might go.

Mr. Trump, my name is ██████ [redacted for safety purposes]. I’m your probation officer. My job is to ask you questions so I can provide the judge with information for your pre-sentence report.

Trump: I can leak it, right? Voters love candidates like me who don’t give a . . . who hate authority. That’s why I lead in every poll in the universe.

By the way, the country won’t stand for it if I get jail time. Some very good people will go over the edge. 

██████: The purpose of the pre-sentence report is to describe you and your background so Justice Merchan can make a well-informed sentencing decision. Any questions?

Trump: Who did you vote for in the last election?

██████: I ask the questions. They fall into two categories. First, are you likely to be amenable to a probation officer’s supervision and to follow the rules and restrictions?

Trump: Rules? I follow every rule that helps me. The rules that don’t will be disappearing before long. 

██████: Second, I need to describe any mitigating or aggravating circumstances that would justify leniency or the opposite. So tell me your side of the story. Like: “Please understand, these bad things have happened to me. Because of them, I am not responsible for my conviction, so you should recommend leniency.”

Trump: Easy. I am wronged by everybody. For example, there are two standards of justice in this country, one for Biden and one for me. The FBI raided my beautiful Mar-a-Lago. What did they do with Biden’s millions of stolen classified documents in his garage? They asked for permission. “Pretty please, can we search?”

Believe me, I have plans for the FBI. 

██████: What can I tell Justice Merchan about your willingness to follow the rules of probation, like living a crime-free life, coming in regularly to see me, not using drugs, and avoiding public statements that cast aspersions on the judicial process?

Trump: I’ve never committed a crime in my life. This trial was rigged, or I wouldn’t have been convicted. I do no drugs other than Prevagen. 

And you saw that I followed that illegal gag order 100% except for 10 times. And only once did I talk loud enough for the jury to hear me, when I said “Juror No. ██ is a Trump-hater.” I was a model citizen, closing my eyes only to keep from seeing all those slime-balls like Michael Cohen who testified against me. 

██████: OK, anything more about mitigating circumstances?

Trump: I have bone spurs. I can get you that letter my dad got his doctor to write in ‘68. I used it five times to get out of going to Vietnam.

How about this for “mitigating?” The fake media is against me. The New York liberals, and all 12 of them on the jury, were against me. (That includes the guy who lied and said he followed me on Truth Social.) The judge was against me. He only kept me out of jail because he knew how much money I’d raise if he put me there. 

And such stupid lawyers! They screwed up, that’s the only reason I’m here. Can you believe how long and hard they cross-examined Stormy Daniels, that fake actress-on-the-stand? All huffy and puffy on the witness stand about how she was surprised I wanted to have sex with her? I don’t even know her.

My lawyers kept me from testifying. I would have won if I did. Then, they called that goofball, Robert Costello, just because I told them to. What kind of lawyer takes a client’s advice? I was just testing them. They failed. 

██████: One more question. Do you have family members who would support you in following the rules of probation?

Trump: They’re loyal to me. You saw my smart son, Eric, sitting there every day of the trial. You saw Don Jr. there on the last day. My dumb lawyers said “Wait until after the prosecution rests so they don’t call him. He’d be a disaster.” 

Melania didn’t come because she takes good care of that son of hers. But would you like to meet her? She looks great in a bathing suit.

Aftergut, a former federal prosecutor, is of counsel to Lawyers Defending American Democracy.


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