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Trump Found Guilty: 5 Key Aspects of the Trial Explained by a UK Lawyer

Trump Found Guilty: 5 Key Aspects of the Trial Explained by a UK Lawyer: On May 30, 2024, Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his hush money trial, marking a historic moment in US legal history.

After the conviction of former President Donald Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in New York, the question arises: what comes next? Trump’s legal team has indicated plans to appeal the verdict, with Trump himself stating, “We will fight for our Constitution. This is long from over.” A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 11.

1. Why Were There So Many Different Felony Counts in This Case?

Trump Found Guilty: The essence of the offenses Trump was convicted of involves falsifying documents or records. Each check, invoice, or other document that the jury found had been falsified constituted a separate offense. The prosecution aimed to present the full scope of the alleged scheme, which involved disguising hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels as legal fees. Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, allegedly used Trump’s money to pay Daniels to keep her silent about her alleged affair with Trump.

2. The Significance of the Conviction

Trump Found Guilty: This conviction is historic and groundbreaking, as it marks the first time a former or potential future president has been convicted of felonies in the United States. This case raises the question of whether this prosecution exemplifies the principle that no person is above the law or if it represents political persecution. Legally, this conviction impacts all of Trump’s other criminal and civil cases. If Trump testifies in any future case, opposing lawyers can challenge his credibility based on this conviction. Practically, Trump, who is registered to vote in Florida, cannot vote there until he completes his sentence and cannot possess a firearm under federal law. However, he can still run for and serve as president, as the Constitution does not disqualify convicted individuals from holding office.

3. What Can We Know About His Sentence?

Trump Found Guilty: New York Judge Juan Merchan will decide Trump’s sentence alone, without a jury. Sentencing is set for July to allow time for the probation office to prepare a report detailing Trump’s background and the case’s facts. Trump’s lack of a prior criminal record is generally a favorable factor, though his negative outcomes in various lawsuits, including a civil finding of sexual assault, could influence sentencing. Lack of remorse and violations of gag orders may also lead to a harsher sentence.

4. Will Trump Serve Time in Prison?

Trump Found Guilty: The offense of falsifying business records is a “Class E” felony in New York, each carrying a potential sentence of up to four years. Trump could face probation, a short term of incarceration, or potentially a long prison term if sentences are imposed consecutively. However, it is speculated that Trump may not receive a lengthy prison sentence and might not be incarcerated at all. The conviction will likely be appealed for years, possibly reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. During the appeals process, Trump might remain free, which is common in complex, high-profile cases with reasonable legal claims of error.

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5. The Strength of the Evidence

Trump Found Guilty: New York law criminalizes falsifying internal business records, even when they are private and not used to defraud anyone or cheat the tax system. In this case, the actions were deemed a felony because they were used to cover up a crime. The prosecution argued that Trump’s actions were part of a scheme to defraud the American people by hiding information about a presidential candidate’s character and conduct. The jury was likely persuaded by the detailed and extensive investigation, which included numerous witnesses and documents that painted a clear picture of the alleged scheme.

Trump Found Guilty: This case highlights the unprecedented nature of a former president facing felony convictions, underscoring the legal and political complexities involved.

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