Trump convicted of falsifying records covering hush money payment

A jury has found the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, guilty of falsifying records to cover a payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

This conviction makes Trump the first US president to be convicted of criminal charges. However, the verdict has no bearing on Trump's capability to run for president in November 2024, as the US constitution only dictates the minimum age and citizenship requirements.

The sentencing for Trump's felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree will take place on 11 July at 10 am local time (1 pm GMT) and will be the first time Trump will have to appear in court since the verdict. Although it is unlikely that Trump will face jail time, as prosecutors are seeking a probation sentence.

Trump's lawyer has already stated that he will appeal the conviction, alleging legal errors and bias from the judge. In addition, there are arguments being prepared that the charges themselves were improper.

It is yet to be seen how the conviction will affect Trump's voter appeal in November, with polls indicating that up to 53% of voters in key swing states would not vote for him if he were convicted, while 67% of respondents in another poll stated that this verdict would not affect their vote.

Trump has claimed the conviction is politically motivated and has rallied support with references to a 'rigged' political system. Republican lawmakers have echoed this claim, while others have called for respect of the verdict and legal process.

Democratic lawmakers have celebrated the conviction, with Representative Adam Schiff stating 'justice arrived for Donald Trump all the same'.

Title: Will Donald Trump go to prison?

Content: It is unlikely that Donald Trump will go to prison after being convicted of falsifying records covering hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels. Although the sentencing for his felony counts falls within his impeachment trial, it is uncommon for those convicted of falsification of business records alone to be sentenced to prison in New York, with punishments such as probation, fines, or community service being more common.

Furthermore, sentences for this offence typically do not exceed a year, especially for first-time offenders, and it is rare to impose multiple years for multiple counts consolidated for sentencing purposes. Therefore, the theoretical maximum sentence of 136 years would likely be reduced considerably.

Title: Trump's election campaign rallies and media attention

Content: Trump's election campaign has already begun to capitalise on the conviction, with references to a 'rigged' political system and the assertion that he is a 'political prisoner'. This is evidenced by the firing off of fundraising appeals and the sending of text messages to this effect.

Trump will also hold a news conference on 1 June as part of his election campaign.

His daughter-in-law and co-chair of the Republican National Committee, Lara Trump, has also given an interview with Fox News, stating that Trump will conduct campaign events and rallies online if he is convicted and sentenced to home confinement.

Title: How did Donald Trump react?

Content: As Trump left the court, he suggested, without evidence, that the conviction was orchestrated by the Biden administration, stating, 'Our whole country is being rigged right now.'

Title: Reactions to the conviction

Content: Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, has posted a childhood photo with her father on her Instagram story, captioning it 'I love you, dad', and his wife, Melania Trump, has largely remained silent during the trial.

Democratic President Biden posted a fundraising appeal on Twitter shortly after the verdict, writing, 'There's only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: At the ballot box.'

Republican lawmakers have largely echoed Trump's claims that the conviction is politically motivated, with Speaker Mike Johnson stating that 'Democrats cheered as they convicted the leader of the opposing party on ridiculous charges'.

Former Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, has written that Americans should 'respect the verdict and the legal process', while California Representative Adam Schiff has celebrated the conviction, stating that 'justice arrived for Donald Trump all the same'.

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