Donald Trump Found Guilty on 34 Counts in Historic New York Hush Money Trial, Becoming First US President to be Convicted of Criminal Charges

Trump repeated his claim that the trial was "rigged" against him and called it a politically motivated witch hunt by Democrats.

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A New York jury on Thursday found Donald Trump guilty of all 34 felony charges for falsifying business records, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime. The jury took 9½ hours to reach their decision, starting their deliberations on Wednesday. He will be sentenced on July 11, just four days before the Republican National Convention.

The bombshell verdict against Trump was announced in Manhattan Supreme Court shortly after 5 p.m., on Thursday after nearly 12 hours of deliberations over two days. This shocking verdict came after a seven-week trial that featured explicit testimony from porn star Stormy Daniels and Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen.

Trump Is Guilty

Donald Trump

The jury foreman calmly said "Guilty" on the first count, then repeated it 33 more times. Trump, 77, wearing a bright blue tie, slouched in his seat with his shoulders forward. He tilted his head and looked at each of the jurors, seven men and five women, as they confirmed his fate.

"The real verdict will be Nov. 5 by the people," Trump told reporters glumly outside the courtroom. "I'm an innocent man."

Donald Trump

Trump repeated his claim that the trial was "rigged" against him and called it a politically motivated witch hunt by Democrats.

"I'm fighting for our country, I'm fighting for our Constitution," Trump said. "We're a nation in decline."

Politicians from both parties reacted strongly to the verdict, with Democrats like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse celebrating it.

"The rule of law applies to everyone," Ocasio-Cortez said triumphantly at a town hall in the Bronx. "Donald Trump was convicted by a jury of his peers."

Donald Trump

Republicans, like House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York, criticized the decision, claiming it showed "how corrupt and rigged the American justice system has become."

Trump was accused by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office of illegally trying to cover up a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, part of a scheme to silence sex scandals that threatened to derail his 2016 campaign.

Political Which Hunt

Jurors found that Trump falsified business records in 2017 by falsely claiming he was paying his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for legal services. In reality, he was reimbursing Cohen for hush money paid to Stormy Daniels to prevent her from talking about their 2006 encounter in a Lake Tahoe hotel room.

Stormy Daniels
Stormy Daniels Twitter

Prosecutors presented 11 invoices, 12 digital ledger entries, and 11 checks to Cohen, most of which were signed by Trump, as evidence that the Trump Organization disguised the repayments as legal services.

Trump's lawyers highlighted Cohen's history of dishonesty, including stealing $60,000 from Trump's business, to portray him as unreliable and determined to see Trump imprisoned. Despite being a convicted perjurer, Cohen was the prosecution's key witness, testifying that he previously lied under oath to protect Trump.

Other evidence suggested Cohen, 57, was truthful when he said Trump directed him to buy Daniels' silence, with Trump reportedly saying, "Absolutely. Do it. Take care of it." Jurors heard a recording of Cohen discussing Trump's knowledge of the payoff with Daniels' lawyer.

Another recording played at trial had Trump acknowledging a plan to pay $150,000 to the National Enquirer to kill a story from another alleged mistress, Playboy model Karen McDougal, before the election. Trump is heard saying, "What do we got to pay for this? One-fifty?"

Donald Trump
Donald Trump Wikimedia Commons

Over six weeks of testimony, jurors heard from 22 witnesses: 20 for the prosecution and two for Trump's defense.

The anonymous jurors requested to hear the long jury instructions again and specific testimony, including that of former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker. Pecker testified about two "catch-and-kill" payments he made at Trump's request to McDougal and a Trump Tower doorman to silence affair allegations.

Trump's main witness, Robert Costello, a former federal prosecutor with ties to Trump's legal team, claimed that Cohen told him Trump didn't know about the Daniels payoff.

Each of the 34 felony counts Trump was convicted of carries a possible sentence ranging from probation to up to four years in prison.

Trump is set to be sentenced on the morning of July 11.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said Trump can remain free without bail until then.

As Trump left the courtroom at 100 Centre Street, he gave a vigorous handshake to his son Eric, his face red with emotion.

Trump denied the charges and, in daily press conferences from the courthouse hallway, condemned the case as a politically motivated plot to remove him from the campaign trail.

Related topics : Us presidential election