Former U.S. President Trump convicted in hush money trial

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Trump says he will appeal the jury's verdict
Image: Gage Skidmore, 2011.

Former US President Donald Trump was convicted, by a New York Supreme Court jury, of 34 counts of falsifying business records on Thursday. It is the first time a US president has been convicted on criminal charges, and Trump is now the first former president to become a felon.

The prosecution alleged Trump's then-attorney Michael Cohen gave hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, amounting to US$130,000, in 2016, shortly before that year's presidential election. The payment was to ensure Daniels did not talk publicly about her affair with Trump in 2006. Then, in 2017, Cohen received US$420,000 from Trump himself and his trust as reimbursement for various payments Cohen had made on Trump's behalf, including the payment to Daniels. The prosecution had argued the fraud occurred when Trump intentionally filed documents which misclassified the payments to Cohen.

Daniels in 2010
Image: Glenn Francis.

Trump has vowed to appeal the case and claimed the trial was "rigged" against him. Trump denies he ever had an affair with Daniels, or that he committed fraud. President Biden called Trump's remarks "reckless." Conversely, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky came to Trump's defense, writing on the social media platform X: "These charges never should have been brought in the first place. I expect the conviction to be overturned on appeal." Elise Stefanik, Ted Cruz, and Jim Jordan each voiced their support for the former president.

Daniels' attorney commented after the verdict was handed down: "I think it was the culmination of a lot of things — the finality of it and, you know, the worry and nervousness she had throughout leading up to this," adding it "hit [Daniels] hard" and the end of the trial "was more or less a relief."

On June 1, Daniels spoke out about the trial. She said she thought Trump should be sentenced to jail time and community service. She added Trump was "completely and utterly out of touch with reality" and talked further about the trial's aftermath: "I’ve been telling the truth the entire time. It’s not over for me. It’s never going to be over for me. Trump may be guilty, but I still have to live with the legacy." However, it should be noted that not all of Daniels' testimony about Trump during the trial was negative.

Several commentators predicted in the lead-up to the jury's deliberation that the verdict could affect Trump's poll numbers. A poll conducted by Morning Consult on Friday showed 54% of registered voters approved of the verdict, and 34% disapproved. Various analysts pointed out that early poll results on the trial are probably not good indicators for public opinion trends in the future.