Donald Trump Becomes First Ex US President To Be ConvictedTop Stories

May 31, 2024 11:27
Donald Trump Becomes First Ex US President To Be Convicted

(Image source from: REUTERS)

A New York jury recently convicted the former US president, Donald Trump, on all charges in a hush money case, making him the first ex-president to be found guilty of a crime. The jury found him guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal a payment meant to silence adult film star Stormy Daniels. While he could face up to four years in prison for each count, he is more likely to receive probation. The 77-year-old Republican, who was released without bail, is now a convicted felon, a historic and startling first for a US president, often considered the most powerful person in the world. However, this conviction does not prevent Trump from continuing his campaign to unseat President Joe Biden in the upcoming election. Trump has defiantly proclaimed his innocence, branding the trial as "rigged" and a "disgrace." Biden's campaign has stated that the trial demonstrates that no one is above the law.

The threat that Trump poses to our democratic foundations has never been more evident. The judge, Juan Merchan, has scheduled the sentencing for July 11, which is just four days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where Trump is expected to receive the party's formal nomination. The 12-member jury deliberated for over 11 hours across two days before the foreman swiftly announced their unanimous conclusion. Merchan commended the jurors for completing this demanding and stressful task. Their identities remained confidential throughout the proceedings, a rare practice typically reserved for cases involving organized crime or other violent defendants. Trump also faces federal and state charges for allegedly conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election won by Biden, as well as for the unauthorized retention of classified documents after leaving the White House. However, these trials, which involve more serious alleged crimes, are unlikely to commence before the upcoming presidential election. Trump was found guilty of falsifying business records to reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment made to Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election, which could have proved detrimental to his campaign against Hillary Clinton.

The trial included extensive testimony from an adult performer, real name Stephanie Clifford, in which she vividly described to the court what she said was a sexual encounter with the married Trump in 2006. Prosecutors succeeded in their case, arguing that the hush money and illegal concealment of payments were part of a broader crime aimed at preventing voters from learning about Trump's actions. Cohen, a key witness as a corrupt former aide who turned against his former boss, called the verdict "an important day for accountability and the rule of law." President Trump denied having sex with Stormy Daniels but did not testify in his own defense. His lawyers argued that the payments to the executors were completely legal. The trial is a distraction from Trump's campaign to unseat Mr. Biden. However, it attracted media attention.

Immediately after the verdict, the Trump campaign launched a fundraiser called “I am a Political Prisoner.” He also said he would make a public statement to reporters Friday morning. Keith Gaddy, a political analyst and professor at Texas Christian University, said the political impact of the shocking event was still being determined. “There probably won't be a big vote swing, but it could be important in close succession, especially in certain states where there are a lot of vote swings. “So, especially in a close race, it could go one way or the other,” he said. The Republican who made a name for himself as a ruthless real estate mogul before running for the highest office in the land in 2016 is likely to be punished. He will face a suspended sentence since this is his first offense. An appeal is imminent, certainly, but it could take months to finalize. Even if he were elected president, he would not be able to pardon himself because the complaint was filed by the state of New York, not the federal government, and only the governor can clear his name.

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Donald Trump  US News