Donald Trump found guilty in ‘hush money’ trial

Donald J. Trump. Photo: SkyNews

Former US President Donald J. Trump was found guilty in a Manhattan courtroom on Thursday of 34 counts of falsifying business records, reports say.

  • Trump was convicted by a jury of 12 peers for falsifying records stemming from a sex scandal that threatened his 2016 presidential campaign. He is the first president to have ever been convicted of a felony crime.
  • The jury deliberated for two days before reaching a verdict on Thursday afternoon. Following the verdict, the former President was said to have “sat largely expressionless,” with “a glum look on his face.”
  • Notably, Trump’s sentencing has been scheduled for July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention—where the GOP is set to choose a nominee for the 2024 US Elections—on July 14th

Further context: The jury found that Trump had faked official records to hide the real purpose behind a payment issued to Michael D. Cohen.

  • The records concealed a $130,000 so-called “hush-money” payment issued to porn star Stormy Daniels, with the intention of keeping her quiet about a sexual affair. They were covered up to look like ordinary legal fees paid to the Jewish “fixer,” Cohen.
  • At sentencing, Trump could be staring at a possible four-year prison sentence. Alternatively, he could see probation, heavy fines, or skirt accountability altogether via appeal.
  • While this trial may be over, Trump is said to be the subject of three other criminal cases, none of which are set to go to trial before Election Day.

Why it’s important: The guilty verdict is a historical precedent in American history, but a sentence will not prevent Trump from taking power in the event he wins an election later this year.

The politically charged ruling comes amid a time of increased political instability for the United States, where two-thirds of Americans are now said to fear violence following the upcoming elections.

  • Despite a conviction, Trump can still be president. The US Constitution does not contain any stipulations that would prevent a felon from running—and serving—as president.
  • In a statement outside the courthouse on Thursday, Trump said to reporters, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5, by the people,”
  • “MY CIVIL RIGHTS HAVE BEEN TOTALLY VIOLATED WITH THIS HIGHLY POLITICAL, UNCONSTITUTIONAL, AND ELECTION INTERFERING WITCH HUNT. OUR FAILING NATION IS BEING LAUGHED AT ALL OVER THE WORLD!” He said on Truth Social.

The conversation: The guilty verdict has animated all sides of America’s fractured political spectrum, with some believing a conviction in the case will help, not impede, the GOP hopeful.

  • “Even if the convictions are overturned on appeal (highly likely) the genie is out of the bottle. There is every reason to think tit-for-tat prosecutorial fishing expeditions will now become the norm in US presidential politics,” said journalist Michael Tracey on X/Twitter.
  • “Trump found guilty. We are now in uncharted territory. There has never been anything like this in American history. Watch my complete breakdown of the Trump verdict and what this means for the 2024 election,” said Jewish conservative Ben Shapiro on X/Twitter.
  • “When Trump won in 2016, he DECLINED to prosecute Hillary Clinton and put her in jail. When Biden won in 2024, his DOJ arrested +1,500 J6 protesters and began creating charges against Trump with cronies in NYC and Atlanta. Let this be a lesson!” Said right-wing commentator Nicholas Fuentes, also on X/Twitter.

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