Advertisement Headline

Curabitur vel gravida neque. Sed non imperdiet elit. Maecenas in pretium dolor, sit amet rutrum.


New York jury finds Donald Trump guilty on all counts in hush money trial

This case, brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, is the only one of four – and, some analysts said, the weakest – expected to go to trial before the election in November.

Trump reacted to the verdict fitfully, calling the trial “a disgrace, this was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge that was corrupt”.

“The real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people, and they know what happened here,” he said outside the courtroom, referring to the US presidential election this autumn.

“We didn’t do a thing wrong, I’m a very innocent man,” he went on. “This was done by the Biden administration in order to wound or hurt a political opponent.”

The high-stakes case drew interest – and TV crews – from around the world, attracting supporters and protesters to a park across from the courthouse.

On Thursday, hundreds of people gathered as word of the verdict spread, with a distraught Trump supporter holding a placard that read “Free Father Teresa”.

Nearby, another demonstrator waved an impromptu red-white-and-blue sign that said “trump convicted” crafted on a bedsheet.

Donald Trump supporters following the verdict in New York. Photo: Reuters

After the verdict, Trump and his inner circle departed the courthouse in a fleet of black SUVs, inching north astride the East River in heavy rush-hour traffic.

He stopped at Trump Tower, getting out of his car and walking towards cameras on the curb. There, he waved to supporters, raising two fists in the air as cheers went up, then walked inside the building.

The high-profile case involved the allegation that Trump paid US$130,000 in hush money to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 election to buy her silence about a tryst they had.

That in itself may not have broken any laws.

But the case centred on a controversial legal premise: that the payment was a form of campaign contribution – a misdemeanour – and the falsifying of 34 business records concealed a second crime, a conspiracy to help his 2016 campaign by unlawful means, which elevated each count to a felony.

The trial’s complexity could provide fodder for a likely appeal, legal experts said.

Within minutes of the verdict, US President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign referred to Trump as a “convicted felon” adding that the decision proved “no one is above the law.”

“There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box,” said Biden campaign communications director Michael Tyler.

Trump denied having an affair with Daniels and pleaded not guilty. He publicly vowed he would to testify but ultimately did not take the stand.

The jury, which began deliberating on Wednesday morning, reached a relatively quick decision after considering the evidence for some nine hours in the extraordinary case.

The trial’s conclusion should allow Trump to resume a full schedule of campaigning, which was largely limited to Wednesdays and weekends during the course of the six-week trial.

The court did not rule on whether his gag order remained in place, and whether he could direct his ire publicly at the judge and members of the jury without consequence.

Trump and Biden are locked in an extremely tight race for the nation’s top office. The two are set to meet on June 27 during the first of two debates, with the second scheduled for September 10.

But analysts have questioned whether Trump’s time in court – away from the campaign trail and seated at a table for hours of testimony often looking sullen, angry and even sleepy – has hurt him among his loyal base.

Since the indictment was brought in April 2023, Trump has framed the case as a vindictive political “witch hunt” filed in a Democratic-dominated state, overseen by a “corrupt” judge and fanned by “fake news” media.

It follows a long-standing tack by Trump of discrediting his opponents and dulling in advance the impact of any expected bad news. He contends the three other criminal cases against him – two federal, one in the state of Georgia – are also witch hunts.

US Special Counsel Jack Smith has brought two federal criminal cases against Trump. Photo: Getty Images/TNS

All four cases have taken a financial toll, forcing Trump to devote significant amounts of money that could have been spent on his campaign.

Federal Election Commission data and an analysis by the Associated Press estimated that Trump’s fundraising arms, including Save America, his presidential campaign, applied at least US$76.7 million to legal fees over the last two years.

Under a March joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee, donations to the party are now routed to his campaign and to pay his legal bills before the committee gets its cut, according to the Associated Press.

Yet Trump has also used the trial as a fundraising opportunity. Within minutes of the verdict’s rendering, his campaign released an appeal to contributors characterising him as a political prisoner.

While the case – filed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg – was the first case ever to indict a former US president for allegedly criminal behaviour, in many ways it was considered the most benign of the cases arrayed against Trump.

The three other cases, involving another 54 felony counts and grounded in more conventional criminal law, have been delayed pending various Trump appeals.

The first federal case by Special Counsel Jack Smith concerns boxes of classified national-security documents Trump took with him when he left the White House in 2021.

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former fixer. Photo: AP

Trump resisted government efforts to retrieve them, with sensitive papers found in a bedroom, shower and ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago estate in south Florida.

The second case Smith has brought contends that Trump strove to overturn the 2020 election – which he lost by 7 million votes to Biden – and incited the violence and chaos at the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in a bid to delay the election’s certification.

The Georgia case also alleges Trump’s election interference in the state and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The New York and Georgia cases are particularly consequential for Trump.

Should he be re-elected, he could presumably direct the Justice Department to shut down the federal cases against him. Such an option does not exist in state-level cases, nor could he commute or pardon any convictions issued by a state court.

Much of the New York trial centred on the testimony of Trump’s one-time lawyer and “fixer”, Michael Cohen, who made the payment to Daniels and was then repaid by Trump.

The defence argued that Cohen was a convicted liar who could not be trusted while the prosecution argued that, even without Cohen’s testimony, an extensive paper trail underscored Trump’s involvement and guilt.

Source link



Advertisement Headline

Curabitur vel gravida neque. Sed non imperdiet elit. Maecenas in pretium dolor, sit amet rutrum.


It’s about the importance of the case in our view, we may discuss the case with the respective client, and we may allow the respective lawyers to provide their opinion on argued cases. This is an important task. Both over and under-performance of the lawyers can lead to bad laws that will affect the entire society and those who come after them. We must be able to have a critical view of such important and consequential performances and roles in our society.