9:26 01.06.2024 •

Photo: Reuters

Donald Trump (photo) was found guilty Thursday of 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to a porn star, making him the first former president to become a convicted felon.

The unanimous verdict from the 12-person jury ends a six-week trial in which prosecutors accused Trump of orchestrating an illegal conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Now, Trump will have a criminal record as he seeks to become president again.

Trump was convicted on all of the felony counts brought by prosecutors.

It now falls to Justice Juan Merchan to determine Trump’s sentence. The judge scheduled the sentencing for July 11, just four days before the Republican National Convention is set to begin.

Falsifying business records carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison, but because the crime is nonviolent and Trump has no prior convictions, any prison time is far from guaranteed. Merchan could opt instead for home confinement, probation or a milder form of supervised release.

Trump and his team reacted quickly and hyperbolically to the trial’s outcome. “I AM A POLITICAL PRISONER!” he declared in a fundraising email sent moments after the verdict, although he was not jailed.

In the hallway outside the courtroom, he told reporters that the trial was “rigged,” adding that the “real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people.”

Trump is certain to appeal the verdict — a process that could take many months or even years. Meanwhile, he stands accused of additional wide-ranging criminal conduct in three other cases: two for subverting the 2020 election results and one for hoarding classified documents after he left office. But none of those cases appears likely to go to trial before Election Day.

Despite its historic nature, there is scant evidence that Trump’s conviction in the hush money case will drastically alter his prospects in the 2024 race. He has a small lead over President Joe Biden in many swing-state polls — a lead that held steady throughout the trial.

And Trump’s allies in the GOP stuck by him throughout the trial: A rotating cast of elected Republicans and other surrogates joined him at the lower Manhattan courthouse most days.

The panel found that Trump falsified business documents that reflected a series of payments he made to his former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Those payments reimbursed Cohen for $130,000 in hush money that he sent to porn star Stormy Daniels 12 days before the 2016 election. At the time, Daniels was threatening to go public with her account of having had sex with Trump a decade earlier.

Trump denied any wrongdoing and long described the case as a “sham.” Even before he was indicted in the spring of 2023, the former president claimed that the investigation was politically motivated. Early in the trial, he accused the jurors of being “95 percent Democrats.”

Anti-Trump demonstrators hold placards outside Manhattan criminal court following the verdict, May 30.
Photo: Reuters

Internet public opinion poll, May 30:


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