Former President Donald Trump has been found guilty on all 34 felony counts in his criminal hush money trial. The verdict was delivered by a Manhattan jury after two days of deliberations totaling 9.5 hours. Trump becomes the first former U.S. president to be convicted of felony crimes. The charges stem from falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to porn actor Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Donald Trump Found Guilty on All Counts in Hush Money Trial

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Donald Trump was convicted of conspiring to silence porn actor Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election and covering his tracks in business records.

The prosecution argued this was part of a “catch and kill” scheme to suppress a story of an alleged extramarital encounter.

The trial which lasted five weeks saw jurors listen to testimony from 22 witnesses including former Donald Trump associates like Michael Cohen, Hope Hicks, and David Pecker.

Cohen, who facilitated the $130,000 payment to Daniels, testified that Donald Trump approved disguising the reimbursements as legal fees to protect his 2016 campaign.

Donald Trump who attended the trial in person sat with his eyes closed as the verdict was read by the jury foreman. The verdict was delivered at just after 5 p.m. local time on Thursday.

Donald Trump denounced the trial as “rigged” and maintained his innocence declaring his intention to continue fighting and predicting a favorable outcome in the upcoming election on November 5.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg highlighted the evidence presented including invoices, checks, bank statements and audio recordings.

He also highlighted the approach taken to build the case against Donald Trump. Donald Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11, facing penalties ranging from fines to up to four years in prison for each count. However, as a first-time offender, incarceration is unlikely. Trump is expected to appeal the verdict.

Donald Trump remains a leading candidate in the presidential election polls and continues to lead President Joe Biden in key swing states. Legal experts said that nothing in the U.S. Constitution prevents a convicted criminal from holding office.

Donald Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. The payment was made to silence Daniels about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

The jury reached an unanimous verdict after more than 11 hours of deliberation over two days. The sentencing is set for July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention.

The Class E felony in New York carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison, but the final punishment will be determined by Judge Juan M. Merchan.

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Donald Trump has denied the charges and condemned the trial as a “disgrace” and a “rigged” system. He plans to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. ET to address the verdict.

The verdict has unified the Republican Party’s factions with GOP officials rallying behind Donald Trump. His campaign has reported a surge in fundraising following the conviction.

The conviction’s effect on Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign remains uncertain. A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll indicated that only 4% of Trump supporters would withdraw their backing if he’s convicted, while another 16% might reconsider.

Donald Trump’s defense team has laid the groundwork for an appeal. They plan to challenge the conviction in a New York appellate court and possibly the state’s highest court.

The defense has accused Judge Merchan of bias due to his daughter’s work with firms linked to Democratic figures.

The judge denied the request for recusal asserting his ability to remain fair and impartial. The defense may argue that the judge improperly limited the testimony of Bradley Smith, a former Federal Election Commission member.

Smith’s testimony was restricted to general FEC background without interpreting campaign finance laws as they apply to Trump’s case.

The defense may also contest the inclusion of graphic testimony from Stormy Daniels which they argued was irrelevant and prejudicial.

Donald Trump’s lawyers focused on undermining the credibility of prosecution witnesses particularly Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney who directly implicated him in the scheme.

The defense called only two witnesses including Robert Costello, who testified that Cohen had denied Trump’s involvement in the hush money payment.

Costello’s testimony opened him to cross-examination that painted him as attempting to keep Cohen loyal to Trump.

The jury was not persuaded by the defense’s arguments, indicating that they found the prosecution’s case more credible.

Donald Trump faces additional legal battles including federal and state charges related to conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results and mishandling classified documents.

These cases could result in more severe penalties, though their trials may not commence before the 2024 election.

Should Donald Trump win the presidency again, he would be unable to pardon himself for state convictions, as only the governor of New York has the authority to grant such pardons.

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