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Donald Trump found guilty in hush money case

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Donald Trump leaving the courthouse

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has been convicted of falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, making him the first president in American history to be convicted of a felony.

The 12-member jury returned the verdict at around 5 p.m. on Thursday after nearly two days of deliberations at the courthouse in New York City, finding the former president guilty on all 34 felony counts brought by local prosecutors.

“Donald Trump is guilty of repeatedly and fraudulently falsifying business records in a scheme to conceal damaging information from American voters during the 2016 presidential election,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. “A jury of 12 every day New Yorkers was presented with overwhelming evidence – including invoices, checks, bank statements, audio recordings, phone logs, text messages, and direct testimony from 22 witnesses – that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Trump illegally falsified 34 New York business records.”

Trump called the verdict a “disgrace” as he exited the courthouse, claiming that the trial was run by a “corrupt” and “conflicted” judge and orchestrated by President Joe Biden’s administration to “hurt” his political chances.

“This was a rigged, disgraceful trial,” Trump said. “The real verdict is going to be November 5th by the people. And they know what happened here, and everybody knows what happened here. … I’m a very innocent man, and it’s okay, I’m fighting for our country. I’m fighting for our Constitution.”

Trump added: “We don’t have the same country anymore. We have a divided mess. We’re a nation in decline, serious decline, millions and millions of people pouring into our country right now from prisons and from mental institutions, terrorists, and they’re taking over our country. We have a country that’s in big trouble.”

Trump is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11 with potential penalties ranging from effectively nothing to up to four years in prison on each count, though any prison sentences woud likely run concurrently. Thursday’s conviction does not affect Trump’s ability to run for president.

The case focused on hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen claims he was working at Trump’s direction when he arranged $130,000 in payments to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet about alleged sexual encounters, which could have been damaged Trump’s bid for the White House.

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