Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

By Sola Ojewusi

NEW YORK — In a historic verdict that resonated through the corridors of power and across the nation, Donald J. Trump, the former president and 2024 Republican frontrunner, was found guilty on Thursday of 34 felony charges of falsifying business records. The conviction, stemming from a hush-money payment intended to silence a porn star, marked a significant legal and political blow to Trump.


The charges related to a $130,000 payment made to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress who alleges she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Prosecutors argued that Trump orchestrated a cover-up to mislabel the reimbursement to his lawyer, Michael Cohen, as a legal expense. This scheme was aimed at influencing the 2016 presidential election outcome by concealing the liaison, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office claimed.

After two days of deliberation, the jury, comprised of 12 New Yorkers, unanimously convicted Trump, potentially setting the stage for up to four years in prison per count, though legal experts speculate that probation is more likely due to his appeal plans.

Inside the courtroom, an impassive Trump shook his head as the jury foreman delivered the consecutive guilty verdicts, a stark culmination of a dramatic trial filled with tabloid-worthy revelations and intense legal scrutiny.

Mr Trump in the court

Outside, reactions were mixed, with demonstrators both condemning and supporting the former president. Trump’s campaign swiftly leveraged the moment, decrying the conviction as a product of political persecution and branding him a “political prisoner.”

Manhattan DA Alvin L. Bragg emphasized the jury’s role in upholding justice, stating, “There are many voices out there but the only voice that matters is the voice of the jury, and the jury has spoken.”

This legal saga, which first came to light in a 2016 Wall Street Journal investigation, has now reached a decisive moment, impacting not only Trump’s legal standing but also his 2024 presidential campaign. Despite the conviction, constitutional provisions allow Trump to continue his presidential run, a fact he and his legal team are likely to emphasize as they appeal the verdict and seek to rally their base against what they label as judicial overreach.

After the verdict

Sentencing is scheduled for July 11, where the full implications of Thursday’s convictions will become clearer. Meanwhile, the country remains deeply divided on what this means for justice and democracy, with potential long-term effects on the political landscape as the 2024 election approaches.

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