News Brief

First For A Former US President: New York Jury Convicts Donald Trump in Stormy Daniels Hush Money Case - Here's What You Need To Know

Kuldeep Negi

May 31, 2024, 09:02 AM | Updated 09:02 AM IST

Former US President Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump

Former US President Donald Trump has become the first former president to be convicted of a crime after a New York jury found him guilty on all charges in his hush money case.

This conviction comes just months before an election where Trump aims to return to the White House.

The jury found Trump guilty on each of the 34 counts of falsifying business records to hide a payment intended to silence porn star Stormy Daniels.

Although he could face up to four years in prison for each count, it is more likely that he will receive probation.

Trump, aged 77, was released without bail and remains eligible to continue his presidential campaign.

He expressed defiance, declaring himself "a very innocent man" and calling the trial "rigged" and a "disgrace".

Trump's campaign issued a statement emphasizing that the "real verdict" would come from voters.

President Joe Biden's campaign responded by stating that the trial demonstrated that "no one is above the law," and highlighted the threat Trump poses to democracy.

Sentencing is set for 11 July, just days before the Republican National Convention where Trump is expected to receive the party's nomination.

The jury deliberated for over 11 hours before delivering a unanimous guilty verdict.

Judge Juan Merchan thanked the jurors for their efforts, noting the difficulty and stress of the task.

The jurors' identities were kept confidential throughout the trial.

In addition to this case, Trump faces federal and state charges related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and for allegedly hoarding secret documents after leaving office.

These trials are not expected to begin before the presidential election.

The conviction pertains to Trump falsifying business records to reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment to Daniels before the 2016 election.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, provided graphic testimony about an alleged 2006 encounter with Trump.

Prosecutors argued that the hush money and its cover-up were part of a broader effort to mislead voters.

Cohen, a key witness, described the verdict as "an important day for accountability and the rule of law."

Trump has denied any sexual encounter with Daniels and did not testify in his own defence.

His lawyers maintained that the payments were legal.

Despite the trial, Trump has continued his campaign activities, leveraging media attention.

Following the verdict, his campaign released a fundraising appeal titled "I am a political prisoner!" and announced a forthcoming public statement.

If Trump wins the presidency, he will not be able to pardon himself as the case was brought by the state of New York, not the federal government. Only the governor of New York could clear his name.

Also Read: More Than 50 Children Found Illegally Working In Ghaziabad Slaughterhouse In Child Commission Raid

Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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