� Guilty: Trump first former US president convicted of felonies

Guilty: Trump first former US president convicted of felonies

Culpable for all 34 charges
/ 05:17 AM May 31, 2024

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court during jury deliberations in his criminal hush money trial in New York, Thursday, May 30, 2024. (Michael M. Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

Former President Donald Trump appears at Manhattan criminal court during jury deliberations in his criminal hush money trial in New York, Thursday, May 30, 2024. Trump became the first former president to be convicted of a felony, as a New York jury found him guilty of all 34 charges. (Associated Press)

NEW YORK — Donald Trump became the first former president to be convicted of a felony on Thursday as a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex.

The verdict is a stunning legal reckoning for Trump and exposes him to potential prison time in the city where his manipulations of the tabloid press helped catapult him from a real estate tycoon to reality television star and ultimately president.

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As he seeks a return to the White House in this year’s election, the judgment presents voters with another test of their willingness to accept Trump’s boundary-breaking behavior.

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Trump is expected to quickly appeal the verdict and will face an awkward dynamic as he seeks to return to the campaign trail as a convicted felon.

There are no campaign rallies on the calendar for now, though he’s expected to hold fundraisers next week.

It will likely take several months for Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw the case, to decide whether to sentence Trump to prison.

The falsifying business records charges carry up to four years behind bars, though prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek imprisonment, and it is not clear whether the judge — who earlier in the trial warned of jail time for gag order violations — would impose that punishment even if asked.

The conviction, and even imprisonment, will not bar Trump from continuing his pursuit of the White House.

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Trump faces three other felony indictments, but the New York case may be the only one to reach a conclusion before the November election, adding to the significance of the outcome.

Though the legal and historical implications of the verdict are readily apparent, the political consequences are less so given its potential to reinforce rather than reshape already-hardened opinions about Trump.

For another candidate in another time, a criminal conviction might doom a presidential run, but Trump’s political career has endured through two impeachmentsallegations of sexual abuse, investigations into everything from potential ties to Russia to plotting to overturn an election, and personally salacious storylines including the emergence of a recording in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitals.

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TAGS: crime conviction, Donald Trump

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