Trump found guilty in hush money case

Wednesday 05th June 2024 08:12 EDT

NEW YORK: A Manhattan jury convicted former President Donald Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee, on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a case stemming from a New York hush money trial involving a porn star. This verdict marks a historic moment as Trump becomes the first president in US history to be convicted of a felony.

Prosecutors accused Trump of participating in an illegal conspiracy to undermine the integrity of the 2016 election by concealing a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. His legal team vowed to challenge the verdict, but Judge Juan Merchan denied Trump’s motion for an acquittal and scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 11.

The trial centered on allegations surrounding a hush-money scheme involving Daniels. The jury found Trump guilty of falsifying business records in connection with this scheme, encompassing 34 felony counts. Before deliberations, both the defense and prosecution delivered closing arguments, presenting contrasting narratives regarding the payment to Daniels and subsequent reimbursements to Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen.

Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, attacked Cohen’s credibility, likening him to a prolific liar and arguing that Cohen’s history of deception rendered his claims unreliable. Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass countered, asserting the validity of Cohen’s testimony and highlighting corroborating evidence, including testimony from David Pecker, the former chief of American Media Inc.

Throughout the trial, Steinglass meticulously guided jurors through the evidence, underscoring the consistency of the testimony and documentation presented. He emphasized the intricate dynamics between Cohen and Trump, characterizing their communication as often cryptic and fast-paced.

Following the jury’s decision, Trump vehemently denounced the trial, calling it a “disgrace” and “rigged.” He asserted, “We didn’t do a thing wrong. I’m a very innocent man,” and positioning the upcoming general election as the true measure of public opinion. “The real verdict is going to be on November 5 by the people,” he declared.

Trump also criticized the Manhattan District Attorney and the Biden administration, baselessly claiming their influence over the case. This was straight from Trump’s playbook. Even before the results were out in the 2016 and 2020 presidential races, he said it was rigged against him. He has said that about every court case against him.

Trump to appeal against conviction

Trump said he would appeal the guilty verdict, though he will have to wait until after his sentencing on July 11 before taking that step. In rambling remarks, Trump repeated his complaints that the trial was a "rigged" attempt to hobble his comeback White House bid and warned that it showed no American was safe from politically motivated prosecution. "If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone," Trump, 77, said in an unscripted 33-minute speech. Trump will have 30 days from the date of his July 11 sentencing to file a notice of appeal.

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