Donald Trump Found Guilty on All Charges in Hush Money Trial

A New York jury on Thursday declared Donald Trump guilty on all 34 charges of falsifying business records, a historic decision that marks Trump as the first former president in American history to be convicted of a felony.

Trump is not only the first ex-president to be found guilty of a felony but also the first major-party presidential candidate found guilty of a crime during a White House campaign.

Should he defeat Joe Biden in the upcoming November election, he would become the first sitting president with a felony conviction.

After nearly 12 hours of deliberations over two days, the jury delivered the verdict in the trial concerning hush money payments.

In November, voters will determine the significance of the guilty verdict given by 12 New Yorkers. Legally, the conviction does not bar him from running for or being elected president again.

“This was a rigged, disgraceful trial. The real verdict will come on November 5, by the people, and they know what happened here; everybody knows what happened here,” Trump said after leaving the courtroom, slamming the presiding judge and the prosecutor who brought the case.

“We didn’t do anything wrong. I’m a very innocent man,” he added, promising to continue fighting.

Manhattan’s District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, charged Trump last year, marking the first indictment of an ex-president for allegedly falsifying repayments to his former lawyer Michael Cohen.

These were purportedly to cover up a $130,000 payment made by Cohen to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to prevent her from disclosing an alleged affair with Trump before the 2016 election (an affair Trump denies).

At a press conference on Thursday evening, Bragg acknowledged the case’s historic significance. He noted that the verdict was reached by applying the facts and the law impartially.

“The 12 everyday jurors vowed to make a decision based solely on the evidence and the law.”

“Their deliberations led them to a unanimous conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant, Donald J. Trump, is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, to conceal a scheme to corrupt the 2016 election,” he said.

The trial, which lasted seven weeks, featured testimony from 20 witnesses who described how the payment to Daniels was part of a broader pattern of concealments aimed at protecting Trump’s image before the election.

Cohen, a key witness for the prosecution, testified that Trump instructed him to pay Daniels and then sanctioned a repayment plan consisting of $35,000 monthly installments in 2017, inflated partly to cover Cohen’s taxes.

Judge Juan Merchan scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11, 2024, at 10 a.m., just before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

Shortly after Trump’s conviction, Biden declared that voting is the only method to overcome his GOP opponent, emphasizing the critical importance of the 2024 election.

Biden wrote on X, “There’s only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box,” and he included a link to a fundraising page.

His campaign issued a statement asserting that the verdict underscores that “no one is above the law.”

Michael Tyler, communications director for Biden’s 2024 campaign, remarked, “The threat Trump poses has never been greater. A second term would bring chaos, threaten American freedoms, and incite political violence — and the American public will reject this in November.”

Trump’s campaign swiftly began fundraising efforts, framing the trial as a “political witch hunt,” a sentiment echoed by his supporters as they came to his defense.

“Today is a shameful day in American history,” House Speaker Mike Johnson stated on X, dismissing the case as a purely political maneuver rather than a legal proceeding.