Jury convicts Trump in New York business fraud case | WORLD
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Jury convicts Trump in New York business fraud case

Former President Donald Trump walks over to speak to reporters after being found guilty of falsifying business records in New York. Associated Press/Photo by Seth Wenig, pool

Jury convicts Trump in New York business fraud case

A Manhattan jury convicted former President Donald Trump on all 34 counts of falsifying business records on Thursday. The move came after more than nine hours of deliberations over two days. Prosecutors had alleged that Trump had falsified business records to hide payments he made to suppress information that would have been harmful to his 2016 presidential campaign. Some of that information pertained to alleged extramarital affairs he’d engaged in, prosecutors said.

What happens next? The trial now moves into the sentencing phase, with a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 11, but the case is in uncharted territory. It was the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president. The charge of falsifying business records is a Class E felony in New York, which represents the lowest tier of felony charges in the state. It is punishable by up to four years in prison, though a conviction is not an absolute guarantee of jail time.

What was Trump’s reaction? The former president made a brief statement to reporters shortly after the verdict was read. Speaking off-the-cuff, he called the verdict a disgrace. He said the proceeding was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge and criticized the judge for refusing his attorneys’ request for a venue change. Trump maintained his innocence and said the real verdict would come on Election Day in November. This is far from over, he said.

What did prosecutors have to say after the verdict? Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg started his news conference Thursday evening by thanking the jurors for their service. He praised the hard work that his team did in prosecuting the case. The members of his prosecution team had personified integrity, dedication, and professionalism, Bragg said.

While he acknowledged the defendant in this case, Trump, was a unique individual in American history, he said his team had approached the case the same as it would any other: by following the facts and the law and doing so without fear or favor. “I did my job,” he said.

He did not say what sentence his office would pursue. Bragg said he would wait to address those matters in court during the sentencing hearing scheduled for July 11.

What was the Biden campaign’s response? The Joe Biden–Kamala Harris Democratic presidential ticket issued a statement praising the verdict. It said the verdict showed that in New York, no one is above he law. It also reminded voters that Trump’s campaign for the White House was still not over and pleaded with voters to cast their ballots against him in November.

How are others reacting to the verdict?
House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.:  On Thursday, Johnson criticized the conviction, saying that it was a shameful day in America. He said the trial had been a purely political exercise, not a legal one. Johnson also added that he believed Trump would appeal the verdict, and that the appeal would be successful.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.: Trump’s conviction was not a victory for a single person, but for an idea, Swalwell said—an idea that all the citizens of the United States live under the same rules. He called Thursday’s verdict a victory for the rule of law.

Former GOP presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: The conviction resulted from the combination of a political prosecutor, a partisan judge, and a jury selected from one of the most politically liberal enclaves in the United States, DeSantis said. While many say no one is above the law, it is also true that no one is below the law, he added. DeSantis alleged that the case would not have been brought to trial if the defendant was someone other than Trump.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.: Schiff praised the fact that a dozen ordinary Americans had found Trump guilty of dozens of felonies. He said justice had arrived for the former president despite his efforts to distract, delay, and deny. He called the verdict a victory for the rule of law.

Gov. Greg Abbott: The Texas Republican called the case a sham show trial run by a kangaroo court and predicted that it would never stand on appeal. He went on to accuse President Biden of weaponizing the justice system against a political opponent and called on voters to reject him on Election Day.

Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt.: Balint said that justice was done in the verdict. She added that she often tells her middle school students that actions have consequences, and added that the verdict showed that no one is above the law.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.: Greene pointed to a pro-Biden rally that was held outside the Manhattan courthouse on Wednesday. She said the case wasn’t a prosecution, it was a persecution, and she called the trial rigged from the start. She also compared the verdict to something that happens in Third World countries and called on the country to end what she characterized as the weaponization of government.

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: The Democratic Party is trying to beat Trump in the courtroom instead of at the ballot box, Kennedy said. He added that Democrats are afraid they’ll lose to Trump in November, but going after him in the courtroom would backfire. He also called the maneuver profoundly undemocratic.

Dig deeper: Read Carolina Lumetta’s coverage of key witness testimony in the trial.

Josh Schumacher

Josh is a breaking news reporter for WORLD. He’s a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College.

Travis K. Kircher

Travis is the associate breaking news editor for WORLD.

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