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Donald Trump convicted of all 34 charges in criminal hush money trial



Donald Trump convicted of all 34 charges in criminal hush money trial

Trump was convicted on all 34 charges in New York on Thursday.

New York:

A jury in New York on Thursday convicted Donald Trump of all charges in his hush-money case in a seismic development just five months before the election as he seeks to retake the White House.

The first criminal trial of a former US president ended with 77-year-old Trump being found guilty of each of 34 charges of falsifying company records to conceal a payment intended to silence porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump — who was released without bail and will almost certainly appeal — initially sat quietly in the dull Manhattan courtroom, his shoulders slumped.

Addressing reporters outside minutes later, he branded the results a “disgrace” and “rigged,” vowing that the “real judgment” would come from voters in the Nov. 5 presidential election.

The conviction pushes the United States into uncharted political territory.

However, it will not stop Trump from continuing his White House campaign, even in the unlikely event that Judge Juan Merchan sentences him to prison.

The sentencing was set for July 11 — just before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where Trump will receive the party’s formal nomination to face Democratic President Joe Biden in the election.

Biden’s campaign released a statement saying the trial showed “no one is above the law.” It added that “the threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater.”

The twelve-member jury deliberated for more than eleven hours over two days before announcing the unanimous conclusion within minutes.

Merchan thanked the judges for completing the “difficult and stressful task.”

Their identities were kept secret throughout the proceedings, a rare practice that is more common in cases involving mafia or other violent suspects.

– Election conspiracy –

Trump was convicted on the eve of the 2016 election of falsifying business records to get his lawyer, Michael Cohen, to repay a $130,000 payment to Daniels, even though her claim to have had sex with him could have been fatal to his campaign.

The trial included lengthy testimony from the adult performer, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, who described in graphic detail to the court what she said was a 2006 sexual encounter with the married Trump.

Prosecutors successfully brought a case alleging that the hush money and illegal cover-up of the payment were part of a broader crime to prevent voters from knowing about Trump’s conduct.

Trump’s lawyers had countered that “trying to influence an election” was simply “democracy” and that the former president had done nothing wrong.

– Campaigning in the courthouse –

The trial has distracted Trump from his campaign to impeach Biden.

However, he milked all the media attention, making daily speeches to cameras outside the courtroom complaining that he was a political victim.

But after teasing the prospect for weeks, Trump — who denied ever having sex with Daniels at a celebrity golf tournament in 2006 — decided not to testify.

Keith Gaddie, a political analyst and professor at Texas Christian University, said the political impact of the shocking events has yet to be determined.

“It probably won’t win many votes, but in certain states with certain swing voting it could matter at the margins. So in particularly tight races it could tip things one way or the other,” she said .

The Republican, who made a name for himself as a brash real estate mogul before stunningly ascending to the nation’s highest office in the 2016 election, now faces prison time or, more likely, probation.

In theory, he could face up to four years in prison for each count of falsifying company documents, but legal experts say he is unlikely to end up behind bars as a first-time offender.

An appeal can take months.

Should he win the presidency, he will not be able to pardon himself, as the case was not brought by the federal government, but by New York State, where only the governor can clear his name.

Trump also faces federal and state charges of conspiring to overturn the 2020 election won by Biden and of hoarding classified documents after leaving the White House.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)