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Former US President Donald Trump found guilty on all 34 felony charges in hush money trial

First Published: 31st May, 2024 7:42 IST

This verdict marks a historic moment as Trump becomes the first president in US history to be convicted of a felony.

Manhattan jury convicted Donald Trump, the former president and presumptive 2024 Republican nominee on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in a case stemming from a New York hush money criminal trial that silenced a porn star, CNN reported.
This verdict marks a historic moment as Trump becomes the first president in US history to be convicted of a felony.

Prosecutors levelled accusations against Trump, alleging his involvement in an illegal conspiracy aimed at undermining the integrity of the 2016 election and suppressing negative information. Central to the case was the concealment of a hush money payment made to an adult film star.
Following the jury’s decision, Trump vehemently denounced the trial, labelling it a “disgrace” and decrying it as “rigged.”
“We didn’t do a thing wrong. I’m a very innocent man,” Trump asserted, expressing his dissatisfaction after leaving the courtroom. Despite the guilty verdict, Trump maintained his innocence, positioning the upcoming general election as the true measure of public opinion on the matter. “The real verdict is going to be on November 5 by the people,” he declared.
Trump also directed criticism towards the Manhattan District Attorney and the Biden administration, baselessly claiming their influence over the case.
In a separate statement, Trump’s legal team vowed to challenge the verdict, but Judge Juan Merchan denied Trump’s motion for an acquittal and scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 11.
The trial centred on allegations surrounding a hush money scheme involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels. The jury found Trump guilty of falsifying business records in connection with this scheme, encompassing 34 felony counts.
Before the jury began deliberations, both the defence and prosecution delivered closing arguments, presenting contrasting narratives regarding the payment to Daniels and subsequent reimbursements to Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen. The credibility of Cohen emerged as a focal point during the trial.
Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, launched a vigorous attack on Cohen’s credibility, likening him to a prolific liar. Blanche sought to discredit Cohen’s testimony, particularly regarding a phone call with Trump on October 24, 2016. He argued that Cohen’s history of deception rendered his claims unreliable.
Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass countered Blanche’s arguments, asserting the validity of Cohen’s testimony and highlighting corroborating evidence. Steinglass emphasised the significance of testimony from individuals such as David Pecker, the former chief of American Media Inc. (AMI), in supporting Cohen’s version of events.
Throughout the trial, Steinglass meticulously guided jurors through the evidence, underscoring the consistency of the testimony and documentation presented. He emphasised the intricate dynamics between Cohen and Trump, characterising their communication as often cryptic and fast-paced.
Meanwhile, Trump also blamed the Biden administration after being found guilty of 34 felony charges in the hush money trial.
“Our whole country is being rigged right now,” Trump told reporters after leaving the courtroom. “This was done by the Biden administration in order to wound or hurt an opponent, a political opponent.”
He also was defiant in his remarks following Thursday’s guilty verdict in his hush money trial.
“We’ll keep fighting, we’ll fight till the end, and we’ll win because our country’s gone to hell,” Trump said, adding, “We don’t have the same country anymore, we have a divided mess.”
“We will fight for our Constitution. This is long over,” Trump said outside of the Manhattan courtroom, CNN reported. (ANI)

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