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Saturday June 22, 2024

Donald Trump becomes first US president convicted of a crime

12-judge jury finds that Donald Trump violated law by falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to film star

By Web Desk
May 31, 2024
Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump walks to speak to the press after he was convicted in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 30, 2024. — AFP
Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump walks to speak to the press after he was convicted in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 30, 2024. — AFP

The jury in a hush money trial in New York has convicted the former president and presumptive 2024 Republican nominee Donald Trump on all 34 counts of falsifying business records.

The former president will face sentencing on July 11. New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said that the former president could remain free without bail. 

The conviction has made him the first former president in US history to be convicted of a crime in a case stemming from a payment that intended to silence a adult film star.

After two-day deliberations, the jury reached the verdict. The 12-judge jury found that Trump violated the law by falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the run-up to the 2016 election. Donald Trump, who is in a tight presidential race with President Biden, is now also a convicted felon.

The jury handed down the verdict in the Manhattan courtroom that saw the trial proceedings for the past six weeks. The jury agreed with prosecutors who said that Trump authorised the plan to falsify checks and related records to win the silence of a adult film star over their alleged sexual encounter.

Prosecutors for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the Stormy Daniels conspiracy spanned his 2016 campaign and continued well into his first year in the White House. 

People react after former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was convicted in his criminal trial outside of Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 30, 2024. —AFP
People react after former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was convicted in his criminal trial outside of Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City, on May 30, 2024. —AFP

However, Trump pleaded not guilty, denying having sex with Daniels.

Despite being convicted and awaiting sentencing, Donald Trump will continue his election campaign to reclaim the White House.

The former president is expected to appeal the New York verdict. Neither the conviction nor any potential sentence prevents him from serving as president.

Earlier on Wednesday when the jury started deliberations, Donald Trump told the media, "Mother Teresa could not beat these charges. These charges are rigged. The whole country’s a mess between the borders and fake elections and you have a trial like this where the judge is so conflicted he can’t breathe."

The 77-year-old said: "It’s a disgrace. And I mean that. Mother Teresa could not beat those charges. But we’ll see. We’ll see how we do."

According to strategists, quoted by The Hill, said: "It is to Trump’s benefit to create a narrative that the case is stacked against him, lowering the bar in the event he is convicted or allowing him to declare victory against a rigged system in the event he is found not guilty."

"So I’ll stay around here. This is five weeks and five weeks of really essentially not campaigning, although I took a big lead in the polls over the last few weeks," he said.

"Something is going on. Because I think the people of this country see that this is a rigged deal."