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Fabien Deglise

Posted at 11:03 a.m. Updated at 10:03 p.m.

  • United States

Thunderclap in the middle of the American electoral campaign. After more than 12 hours of deliberation over two days, a jury of 12 citizens found Donald Trump guilty of all 34 counts against him in his highly publicized trial for concealing a bribe late Thursday. 'afternoon in New York.

After being the first ex-president of the United States to be hauled before the courts in a series of criminal trials, the populist once again makes history by becoming the first ex-president to receive a guilty verdict for a crime, while he aspires to return to the White House in the next American presidential election.

“This is all a disgrace,” declared Donald Trump as he left the Manhattan courthouse, after the verdict was revealed. “It was a rigged trial led by a compromised and corrupt judge”, accusations that he has constantly repeated since the start of this trial, without however providing proof.

The former reality TV star faced justice, accused of having falsified accounting documents in order to conceal the payment of a sum of $130,000 to ex-porn actress Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels. The bribe was intended to protect his run for the White House in 2016 by buying Clifford's silence about an alleged adulterous affair he had with her in 2006 at a golf tournament. in Nevada.

It is extremely rare to impose a prison sentence for a first offense of this type

— Gregory Germain

Forthcoming sentence

The guilty verdict for the crimes committed could technically earn the billionaire a prison sentence , however an unlikely scenario, estimates law professor Gregory Germain, contacted by Le Devoir at Syracuse University, in New York State. “It is extremely rare to impose a prison sentence for a first offense of this type,” said this specialist in white-collar crime. Moreover, sentencing a presidential candidate to prison during an election could create a constitutional crisis and would be extremely difficult to enforce, due to the protection that must surround a former president and the Party's ultimate candidate. Republican in view of the election next November.

With a verdict now in his pocket, Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over this historic trial, must pronounce the sentence given to Donald Trump next July, just a few days before the launch of the Republican Convention.

“I think it's much more likely that the judge will sentence Trump to probation,” Mr. Germain added.

Also read

  • Reactions to the Donald Trump trial verdict
  • What's next for Donald Trump after this guilty verdict?

The guilty verdict, which the 77-year-old billionaire is expected to quickly appeal, will not prevent him, within the American legal and constitutional framework, from continuing his electoral campaign, including if he were to be sentenced to prison.

In the minutes following the announcement of the Republican's conviction, the White House reacted soberly by affirming “to respect the rule of law” and saying n have “no further comments” to make. Earlier, Joe Biden's campaign team recalled that “there is only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: through the ballot box”, underlined in the wake of the verdict Michael Tyler, spokesperson for the president's campaign. “Delinquent or not, Trump will be the Republican candidate,” he added in a press release.

“Unprecedented situation »

“We are facing a situation that is unprecedented in modern American politics,” Jay Sexton, a historian at the University of Missouri, said in an interview. “By breaking yet another political norm [by finding a presidential candidate guilty of a crime], this trial confirms the collapse of old political structures under the pressure of a new context.” A context fueled by the rise of populist nationalism in the United States and elsewhere, the overthrow of decades of political traditions, the spread of war and political violence, and the “precipitous decline” of the United States’ relative power on the international stage, he said. All of this is fueled by social media and instantaneous communication, which foster excesses of indignation and emotion.

It's only a very small percentage of voters who should move away from him, no more than 3 or 4%

—Jay Sexton

Jay Sexton, however, believes that the verdict, despite its symbolic charge, should not weigh heavily on the continuation of the American populist's presidential campaign. “All the previous scandals that have affected Donald Trump have had the effect of strengthening his hold on the Republican Party,” he says. His guilt in this trial should lead to the same result. »

The vast majority of American voters, 67 percent, said Donald Trump's guilt would not change their voting intentions next November, according to a College Marist poll conducted for public radio and television networks NPR and PBS from May 21 to 23, the results of which were revealed Thursday.

Worse, 15% indicated that the conviction of the former president would encourage them more to vote for him, compared to 17 percent who admitted they were less likely to vote for him if he were convicted.

“It’s only a small percentage of voters who should move away from him,” Mr. Sexton maintains, “no more than 3 or 4 percent. But in the context of a close election, this is a level of disaffection that could nevertheless change the result. »

“We will appeal as soon as possible”

Donald Trump's lawyer, Todd Blanche, said Thursday that he plans to appeal the guilty verdict against his client as soon as he can, after other legal steps.

“We will appeal as soon as possible,” Todd Blanche, the former president’s main lawyer in this case, said on CNN. “In New York, the procedure says: there is the sentencing. Then we will appeal. » The sentence will be decided on July 11.

France Media Agency

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116