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Trump guilty on all 34 counts in hush money trial, historic first for a former U.S. president

Trump guilty on all 34 counts in hush money trial, historic first for a former U.S. president
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Former President Trump found guilty on all 34 counts in hush money case

A New York jury on Thursday found former President Donald Trump guilty of all 34 felony charges of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels by his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen before the 2016 election.

Trump, 77, is the first U.S. president to be convicted of any crime. He faces three other pending criminal cases.

His sentencing for the hush money case was scheduled for July 11 at 10 a.m. ET by Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan.

That is just days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where the twice-impeached Trump is set to be formally confirmed as the GOP’s presidential nominee.

Former U.S. President Trump walks alongside his attorney Todd Blanche after a jury found him guilty of all 34 felony counts in his criminal trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York, New York, U.S., 30 May 2024.

Mark Peterson | Via Reuters

Trump, who remains free without bail, faces a maximum possible punishment of four years in prison for each count, although Merchan is not bound to sentence him to any prison time. Trump is certain to appeal the verdict.

The former president was found guilty of falsifying business records that purported to describe legal expenses payments by him and the Trump Organization to Cohen to reimburse the former fixer for the $130,000 payment Cohen personally gave Daniels before the 2016 election.

Read more CNBC on Trump’s guilty verdict

Cohen and Daniels both testified that the money was to prevent her from selling to media outlets her story of having sex with Trump one time in 2006, months after his wife Melania Trump gave birth to their son Barron Trump.

Cohen said Trump directed him to pay Daniels to prevent her from damaging his chance of winning the White House in 2016. He said he did little if any actual legal work for Trump in the period covered by the business records.

Trump’s demeanor did not change during the reading of the verdict, which came at about 5:05 p.m. after jurors in the state court deliberated for fewer than 10 hours over two days. His son Eric Trump looked angry after the jury foreman repeatedly said “guilty” to each count as it was read.

Donald Trump verdict sheet.

Courtesy: Supreme Court of the State of New York

“I am a very innocent man,” Trump said afterward.

“This was a disgrace,” he said. “This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt.”

“The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here,” Trump said.

A man holds a placard outside Manhattan criminal court following the verdict in former U.S. President Donald Trump’s criminal trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in New York City on May 30, 2024.

Mike Segar | Reuters

The campaign of President Joe Biden, in a statement minutes after the verdict, said, “The threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater.”

“In New York today, we saw that no one is above the law,” said Biden campaign spokesman Michael Tyler. “Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain.”

“But today’s verdict does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality,” Tyler added. “There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box. Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.”

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr., whose office prosecuted Trump called the jurors “12 everyday New Yorkers” who heard testimony from 22 witnesses over weeks of the trial, and reviewed records, checks and other documents before convicting Trump.

“While this defendant may be unlike any other in American history, we arrived at this trial, and ultimately today at this verdict, in the same manner as every other case that comes,” Bragg said.

Merchan told the jurors, “I want to thank you very much for your service.”

“That’s a long time to be away from your job, your families, your other responsibilities,” the judge said. “I want you to know that I really admire your dedication, your hard work.”

The verdict came hours after jurors heard readbacks of testimony by Cohen and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, as well as portions of legal instructions they received Wednesday from Merchan.

Pecker had testified about a 2015 meeting in Trump Tower with Trump and Cohen in which he promised to use his media contacts to identify people who were offering negative stories about Trump so that they could be paid off for their silence. Pecker’s company itself paid Karen McDougal $150,000 in 2016 to keep her quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.

More news on Donald Trump

In two of the other three criminal cases Trump faces, he is charged with crimes related to his efforts to overturn his loss in the 2020 election Biden. 

One of those cases is in federal court in Washington, D.C., and the other is in Georgia state court in Atlanta.

Trump is charged in federal court in Florida with crimes related to his retention of classified government records after he left the White House in January 2021, and to his attempts to prevent those documents from being recovered by federal officials.

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as the verdict is read in his criminal trial over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, at Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. May 30, 2024, in this courtroom sketch. 

Jane Rosenberg | Reuters

Trump also faces a civil judgment in Manhattan Supreme Court ordering him to pay more than $450 million in damages to the state of New York after he was held liable for business fraud involving the Trump Organization and its valuation of real estate assets.

He also faces two civil defamation verdicts by federal juries that awarded damages of nearly $90 million to writer E. Jean Carroll, who testified that Trump raped her in the mid-1990s in a dressing room of a Manhattan department store.

“Justice!!” Carroll wrote Thursday in a post on X, which also featured a striking photo of Daniels.

Trump is appealing the verdicts in the three civil cases.

If Trump is not serving his sentence in a prison this fall, he will be eligible to vote in the election in either New York or Florida, where he maintains residences.

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