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Trump found guilty in criminal proceedings, historic verdict against former US president

Donald Trump wasé found guilty on Thursday à his criminal trial New York, a first for a former American president and an earthquake for the billionaire who says he is "innocent" and intends to return &agrav; the White House.

This historic verdict, with unpredictable political consequences, will not prevent the Republican champion from being a candidate in the presidential election on November 5 against Democrat Joe Biden, even in the event of a prison sentence.

This sentence, for hidden payments to an X-rated movie star, will be pronounced on July 11 by Manhattan court judge Juan Merchan, four days before the Republican Party convention which is to nominate Donald Trump as candidate of the American conservatives.

In the meantime, he remains free.

One of his lawyers, Todd Blanche announced on CNN a “call as soon as possible”, at the earliest after July 11.

As the criminal guilty verdict was read in the courtroom, the 77-year-old ex-president remained stoic, his shoulders lowered.

Those around him looked dejected.

Trump found guilty in criminal proceedings, historic verdict against former US president

In front of the New York court, May 30, 2024 © AFP – Kena Betancur

Leaving the courtroom, his face grimacing, the man who in a decade has shaken up American democracy described himself as an “innocent man”, castigating a “rigged” trial that would be a “disgrace”.

Defiant, he assured that the “real verdict” would fall on the evening of the election of November 5.

Then he returned, fist raised, to his Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, from where he will give a press conference on Friday at 11:00 a.m. (3:00 p.m. GMT).

– “Above the law” –

“No one is above the law”, reacted Joe Biden's campaign, warning that only the “ballot” will ensure that Donald Trump does not return to the Oval Office.

In front of the courthouse, New Yorkers who were leaving work congratulated each other, including John Rudy, a “60-year-old gay” man for whom this is “one of the rare moments when, truly, no one is above the law in the United States of America”.

For Matthew Turner, on the contrary, this verdict “will make him even more popular in the eyes of the American people”.

After two days of deliberations, the 12 jurors unanimously declared Donald Trump guilty of all 34 crimes of falsifying accounting documents, intended to hide a payment of $130,000 to porn actress Stormy Daniels to avoid a sex scandal just before the 2016 presidential election.

“You gave this matter the attention it deserved,” he told the jurors, his voice trembling, Judge Merchan, whom Donald Trump has often called “corrupt”.

The former president faces up to four years in prison, possibly accompanied by a fine . But the judge could impose a suspended prison sentence, or even community service.

The verdict is an earthquake in the middle of the presidential campaign, before the first debate between MM. Trump and Biden, June 27, and the Republican convention in Milwaukee, July 15 to 18.

The consequences on the November 5 vote are difficult to predict, specialists believing that votes should only “move” at the “margin”. But according to several polls, some of his voters from 2016 and 2020 could turn away.

– “Political prisoner” –

On a fundraising web page, Donald Trump portrayed himself Thursday evening as a “political prisoner”.

Trump found guilty in criminal proceedings, historic verdict against former US president

Porn actress Stormy Daniels leaves New York court after testifying in Donald Trump's trial, May 9, 2024 © AFP – Charly TRIBALLEAU

Since 2023, his indictments in four separate criminal cases and his three civil convictions — legal troubles that he describes as a “witch hunt” orchestrated by Democrats — have not stopped him to win his party's primary hands down.

Deprived of campaigning on the ground since mid-April, Donald Trump still used his trial to capture media attention, while refusing to testify during his trial.

For six weeks, the jurors delved behind the scenes of the 2016 presidential campaign, ultimately victorious but where the fear of a sexual scandal seemed omnipresent in the Trump camp.

The testimony of ex-actress Stormy Daniels was one of the high points of the debates . She notably recounted in detail this sexual relationship, according to her consensual but where the “balance of power” was “unbalanced”. Donald Trump denies that this episode took place.

The $130,000 had been paid to the actress by the billionaire's former confidant, Michael Cohen, who has since become his sworn enemy. The latter soberly hailed “an important day” for the “truth”.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

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