Donald Trump’s Appeal of His Criminal Verdict: Timeline and Legal Appellate Process Explained

Shortly after former President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict on May 30th, his attorney said that an appeal was forthcoming.

Trump will have 30-days from his sentencing on July 11th to file a Notice of Appeal. The appeal will be heard by the Appellate Division, First Department, located in Manhattan, which is one of the four intermediate appellate courts in New York State. It reviews cases from lower courts in Manhattan and the Bronx. This court will examine Trump’s appeal, focusing on issues raised by Trump, which may include claims of potential legal errors made during the trial by the judge, potential bias, the admissibility of evidence, and issues with jury instructions, among other claims or errors that may be raised.

After filing the Notice of Appeal, the record containing the trial-related documents, including transcripts, will be assembled. Trump’s lawyers will draft a brief containing all of Trump’s legal arguments, which will likely include citations to parts of the record. In the Appellate Division, there are specific limits on the size of appellate briefs. In the event Trump’s attorneys want to file a larger brief, they must ask the court for permission to do so.

Trump will have several months to file the appeal (which is known as “perfecting” the appeal), and the prosecutors will have a chance to respond to Trump’s brief. If either side needs additional time, they can request an extension from the court. Given the timeframes for perfecting the appeal and responding, in all likelihood the appeal will not be heard by the Appellate Division until after the November election. However, Trump may try to have the appeal heard before the election by perfecting the appeal very quickly and requesting that the appeal be heard during the court’s next available term, which is the September term, that starts in early September.

Once the appeal is perfected, the Appellate Division will schedule oral argument. During oral argument, Trump’s attorney and a prosecutor will have the opportunity to argue their position, and the panel of judges hearing the case will have an opportunity to ask questions.

After reviewing the briefs and the trial record, and hearing the oral arguments, the Appellate Division will deliberate and issue a written decision. This decision may take several months, especially given the complexity and high stakes involved in a case of this magnitude.

The outcome of this appeal will be closely watched, as it holds significant implications not only for Trump but also for the broader legal and political landscape. But it is likely that the Appellate Division will not have the final word. Either Trump or the prosecutor’s office may ask the Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court, to review the Appellate Division’s decision.