New York probation officers interview Trump before his criminal sentencing

<span>Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Wednesday.</span><span>Photograph: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images</span>
Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Wednesday.Photograph: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

Donald Trump was interviewed by New York probation officials on Monday, a required step before his July sentencing in his criminal hush-money case, the Associated Press reported.

Trump, who declined to testify at the trial, appeared for the probation interview by video conference from his residence at the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, with his lawyer Todd Blanche by his side. The arrangement garnered complaints of special treatment, but city officials contend that is not the case.

Trump’s interview ended after less than a half-hour of routine and uneventful questions and answers, a person familiar with the matter told the AP.

People convicted of crimes in New York usually meet with probation officials without their lawyers, but the judge in Trump’s case, Juan Merchan, said in a letter on Friday that he would allow Blanche’s presence.

The usual purpose of a pre-sentencing probation interview is to prepare a report that will tell the judge more about the defendant, and potentially help determine the proper punishment for the crime.

Related: Trump to escalate blame on trial judge Juan Merchan if sentenced to prison

Such reports are typically prepared by a probation officer, a social worker or a psychologist working for the probation department who interviews the defendant and possibly that person’s family and friends, as well as people affected by the crime.

Present reports include a defendant’s personal history, criminal record and recommendations for sentencing. It will also include information about employment and any obligations to help care for a family member. It is also a chance for a defendant to say why they think they deserve a lighter punishment.

The city’s public defenders on Monday criticized what they said were “special arrangements” for Trump and urged the probation department to “ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of income, status, or class, receive the same pre-sentencing opportunities”.

“All people convicted of crimes should be allowed counsel in their probation interview, not just billionaires,” four of the city’s public defender organizations said in a statement. “This is just another example of our two-tiered system of justice.”

A jury convicted Trump of falsifying business records at his own company as part of a broader scheme to buy the silence of people who might have told embarrassing stories about him during the 2016 presidential campaign. One $130,000 payment went to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Trump, which he denied.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, says he is innocent of any crime and that the criminal case was brought to hurt his chances to regain the White House.

Following Trump’s historic conviction, a New York Times/Siena College post-verdict analysis of nearly 2,000 interviews with voters found that Trump’s advantage over Joe Biden narrowed from three to one point.

Trump’s campaign spokesperson, Steven Cheung, said in a statement on Sunday that the president’s Democratic party allies “continue to ramp up their ongoing Witch-Hunts, further abusing and misusing the power of their offices to interfere in the presidential election”.

“President Trump and his legal team are already taking necessary steps to challenge and defeat the lawless Manhattan DA case,” he said.

Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for 11 July. He has discretion to impose a wide range of punishments, ranging from probation and community service to up to four years in prison.

In his first rally earlier this week following his conviction, Trump, who is appealing his conviction, issued foreboding threats.

“Those appellate courts have to step up and straighten things out, or we’re not going to have a country any longer,” Trump said at a Turning Point Action event in Phoenix, Arizona.

Meanwhile, reports have emerged of New York police planning to revoke Trump’s license to carry a gun as a result of his conviction.

Speaking to CNN anonymously, a New York police department official said that it will complete its investigation “that will likely lead to revocation of his license”.