Former President Trump Convicted in Unprecedented New York Case

 May 30, 2024

In a landmark decision, a New York jury has convicted former U.S. President Donald Trump of 34 felony charges. This verdict makes Donald Trump the first former president to be found guilty of a crime.

According to NBC News, the charges stemmed from falsifying business records linked to a payment made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels as part of the arrangement. The prosecutors said the purpose was to conceal allegations that could have impacted the election outcome.

Judgment Reached After Deliberate Jury Consideration

Jurors took about 9.5 hours over two days to reach their decision. The trial, which did not feature Trump testifying, drew global attention, focusing on the legality of nearly $130,000 paid to Daniels.

Trump’s legal representative argued during the trial that the payments to Cohen were legitimate business expenses, not illegal hush money, as the prosecution argued.

Prosecutors maintained that these transactions were intended to manipulate the electoral process by silencing potential detractors. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo described it as “election fraud. Pure and simple.”

Judge Juan Merchan led the trial, addressing the jury after their verdict was announced. He acknowledged their commitment to an unbiased review of the facts: "You gave this matter the attention it deserved, and I want to thank you for that.”

Implications for Trump and U.S. Politics

The offenses carry a potential sentence that ranges from monetary fines to four years in prison per count, potentially served concurrently. Sentencing is set for July 11, ahead of the much-anticipated Republican National Convention.

Witnesses during the trial included not only Cohen but also former Trump Organization executives, and publisher David Pecker, who testified regarding efforts to suppress stories detrimental to Trump’s presidential campaign.

Trump has vehemently criticized the judicial process, labeling it as "rigged" and branding himself as a "political prisoner." His reaction was broadcast shortly after the verdict, sparking a wave of political discussions and rallying his supporter base for potential fundraising efforts.

Here is the reaction from Michael Tyler from Biden's campaign:

In New York today, we saw that no one is above the law, but the verdict does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality. There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box.

Following the jury's departure, Trump’s attorney motioned for acquittal, which Judge Merchan promptly denied, asserting the conviction's legitimacy. Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, remained defiant, stating, “President Trump is innocent. He did not commit any crimes.”

Wider Reactions and Next Steps

A New York jury has convicted former U.S. President Donald Trump of 34 felony charges related to falsifying business records linked to a 2016 campaign payment, marking him as the first former president convicted of a crime. The charges were connected to a payment made by Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, allegedly to influence the election outcome. The trial concluded without Trump's testimony, drawing worldwide attention and ending with the jury deliberating for 9.5 hours over two days. The sentencing is scheduled for July 11, with the potential for significant prison time or fines.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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