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NY jury convicts Trump in fraud case stemming from sex scandal involving porn star from Baton Rouge

2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago Thursday, May 30 2024 May 30, 2024 May 30, 2024 4:14 PM May 30, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

NEW YORK — Donald Trump was convicted Thursday on all 34 counts against him in his New York hush money trial, a landmark jury verdict making him the first former American president to be found guilty of felony crimes in the nation’s nearly 250-year history.

The jury’s judgment Thursday caps a trial centered on lurid claims of sex involving a porn star from Baton Rouge, along with financial coverups. It also exposes Trump to prison time.

Trump will be sentenced on July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

The verdict represents a stunning courtroom reckoning for Trump, who was indicted in three other felony cases but wasn’t convicted until now.

Coming six months before the presidential election in which Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, the verdict will test voters’ willingness to elect for the first time a candidate with a criminal record related to hush money payments to a porn star.

"Today's a shameful day in American day in American history," House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana said, calling the case against Trump a political prosecution. He was among a number of Louisiana Republican politicians criticizing the conviction.

Jurors deliberated for 9½ hours over two days before convicting Trump of all 34 counts he faced. Trump sat stone-faced while the verdict was read as cheering from the street below — where supporters and detractors of the former president were gathered — could be heard in the hallway on courthouse's 15th floor where the decision was revealed.

“This was a rigged, disgraceful trial,” Trump told reporters after leaving the courtroom. “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people. They know what happened, and everyone knows what happened here.”

As he seeks to reclaim the White House in this year’s election, the judgment presents voters with another test of their willingness to accept Trump’s boundary-breaking behavior.

Trump is expected to quickly appeal the verdict. 

The falsifying business records charges carry up to four years behind bars, though prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek imprisonment, and it is not clear whether the judge — who earlier in the trial warned of jail time for gag order violations — would impose that punishment even if asked.

The conviction, and even imprisonment, will not bar Trump from continuing his pursuit of the White House.

Trump faces three other felony indictments, but the New York case may be the only one to reach a conclusion before the November election, adding to the significance of the outcome.

Trump maintained throughout the trial that he had done nothing wrong and that the case should never have been brought, railing against the proceedings from inside the courthouse — where he was joined by a parade of high-profile Republican allies — and racking up fines for violating a gag order with inflammatory out-of-court comments about witnesses.

The trial involved charges that Trump falsified business records to cover up hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, the porn actor from Louisiana who said she had sex with the married Trump in 2006.

The $130,000 payment was made by Trump’s former lawyer and personal fixer Michael Cohen to buy Daniels’ silence during the final weeks of the 2016 race in what prosecutors allege was an effort to interfere in the election. When Cohen was reimbursed, the payments were recorded as legal expenses, which prosecutors said was an unlawful attempt to mask the true purpose of the transaction. Trump’s lawyers contend they were legitimate payments for legal services.

Trump has denied the sexual encounter. His lawyers said the hush money deals were made for business considerations, not political ones.

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