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Donald Trump, Hush Money Trial Case, United States,

Donald Trump Becomes First Former US President Convicted of a Crime

Donald Trump has become the first former US president to be convicted of a crime, following a New York jury’s decision finding him guilty on all charges in a hush money case. This verdict comes just months before an election that might see him return to the White House.

The jury found Trump guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal a payment intended to silence porn star Stormy Daniels. Although he theoretically faces a sentence of up to four years per count, he is more likely to receive probation.

At 77, the Republican Trump, who was released without bail, now holds the status of a felon—a historic first for someone once considered among the most powerful people in the world.

Despite his conviction, Trump is not prohibited from running against President Joe Biden in the upcoming November election, even if he ends up in prison. He responded to the verdict with defiance.

“I am a very innocent man,” Trump told reporters, asserting that the “real verdict” would come from voters. He labeled the trial “rigged” and a “disgrace.”

Biden’s campaign issued a statement emphasizing that the trial demonstrated “no one is above the law” and warning that “the threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater.”

Judge Juan Merchan scheduled the sentencing for July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where Trump is expected to receive the party’s formal nomination.

The jury, consisting of 12 members, deliberated for over 11 hours across two days before delivering their unanimous verdict in a matter of minutes. Merchan expressed gratitude to the jurors for their “difficult and stressful task.”

Throughout the proceedings, the jurors’ identities were kept secret, a measure usually reserved for cases involving organized crime or violent defendants.

Trump is also facing federal and state charges related to conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results and hoarding classified documents after leaving the White House. These trials, involving more serious allegations, are not expected to commence before the presidential election.

Election Conspiracy

Trump’s conviction stems from falsifying business records to reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment to Daniels before the 2016 election. Daniels’ claim of a sexual encounter with Trump could have jeopardized his campaign against Hillary Clinton.

The trial included extensive testimony from Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, detailing what she claimed was a 2006 sexual encounter with the married Trump. Prosecutors argued that the hush money and the subsequent cover-up were part of a broader scheme to prevent voters from learning about Trump’s actions.

Cohen, a key witness as a former aide who turned against Trump, hailed the verdict as “an important day for accountability and the rule of law.”

Trump has denied any sexual encounter with Daniels and did not testify in his own defense. His lawyers contended that any payments made to Daniels were legal.

Campaigning from the Courthouse

The trial has diverted Trump’s attention from his campaign to unseat Biden, although he has used the media coverage to his advantage.

Following the verdict, Trump’s campaign issued a fundraising appeal titled “I am a political prisoner!” He also announced plans to make a public statement to journalists early Friday.

Keith Gaddie, a political analyst and professor at Texas Christian University, noted that the political impact of these events remains uncertain. “It probably doesn’t move a lot of votes, but in particular states with particular swing votes, it could matter around the margins. So in particularly tight races, it can tip things back from one direction to the other,” he said.

While Trump, known for his brash real estate career before his unexpected ascent to the presidency in 2016, is likely to receive probation as a first-time convict, an appeal is expected to prolong the legal process.

Should he win the presidency, Trump would not be able to pardon himself, since the case was prosecuted by the state of New York, where only the governor has the authority to grant a pardon.


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