Trump Found Guilty of 34 Felony Charges

04:58 May 31, 2024

Trump Found Guilty of 34 Felony Charges

A New York City jury on Thursday found former U.S. president Donald Trump guilty of falsifying business records to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all 34 felony charges. A felony is considered a serious crime that could result in stronger punishment. The trial marked the first time a former U.S. president has faced a criminal trial.

In the New York case, government lawyers presented evidence against Trump. In an audio recording made in September 2016, Trump can be heard saying, "So what do we got to pay for this?" as he and his lawyer discussed how to suppress stories about his reported affair.

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, said that he made the payment to adult film performer Stormy Daniels to keep her from telling the public about a sexual relationship she said she had with Trump years earlier. Cohen also said Trump’s business, called the Trump Organization, repaid the money with Trump’s knowledge and claimed them as legal costs.

The jury also heard from former National Enquirer newspaper publisher David Pecker about a “catch and kill” plan to suppress a story from another adult magazine model, Karen McDougal. He said that payments were made to suppress stories that could hurt Trump’s 2016 campaign.

What’s next?

Trump now faces the possibility of being placed on probation or imprisoned for up to four years for the conviction.

Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over the legal case, has set a sentencing hearing for July 11. That is days before the opening of the Republican National Convention on July 15 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Trump is expected to be named the 2024 Republican presidential nominee for the November election against President Joe Biden.

Coming out of the courtroom, Trump called the verdict a “disgrace.” He added, “The real verdict is going to be November 5, by the people.” November 5 is Election Day in the United States this year.

Biden did not comment on Trump’s guilty verdict. But his presidential campaign said in a statement: “Today's 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…”

Trump is certain to appeal his conviction and can continue to run for the presidency. There is also no measure in the U.S. Constitution to prevent Trump from becoming president as a convicted felon.

As a president, if he wins the November election, Trump will have the power to pardon, or cancel, federal convictions. But he could not pardon himself in a state case like the New York trial in which he was convicted.

Trump is facing three other indictments, including two accusing him of illegally trying to overturn his 2020 election loss. The third says he illegally took hundreds of highly secret national security documents to his Florida home when his presidential term ended, and then refused to return them.

But all three cases are being delayed.

I’m Mario Ritter, Jr.

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