It’s Official: Donald Trump Is a Convicted Felon



A jury found Donald Trump guilty on all 34 counts on Thursday, marking the first time in U.S. history that a former president has been convicted of a felony.

The jury reached its decision after deliberating for less than 10 hours. Judge Juan Merchan announced that Trump will be sentenced on July 11 at 10 a.m., mere days before the Republican National Convention will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Trump was accused of using his former fixer Michael Cohen to sweep an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels under the rug ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He faced 34 felony charges in the case for allegedly falsifying business records with the intent to further an underlying crime in the first degree.

In order to find Trump guilty of felony-level falsification of business documents, the jurors had to unanimously agree that he did so in order to further an underlying or separate crime. But before entering the jury chamber—and against the best efforts of Trump’s legal team—Merchan ruled that the jury did not need to agree on what the separate or underlying crimes were.

Trump listened to the verdict wearing a deep frown, while his attorneys looked away from their client.

Just before the jury began deliberating Trump’s fate, the former president slammed his own legal defense, seemingly disapproving of the strategy they had chosen. In frantic, back-to-back posts on Truth Social Wednesday morning, Trump suggested that he had wanted an advice of counsel defense, a strategy that negates the element of criminal fraud when the advice stems from “reasonable reliance” on the advice of a person’s legal counsel.

His attorneys had indicated in March that they had no intention of employing that strategy. Instead, they wanted to include evidence that centered around the lawyers in Trump’s decision to dole out hush-money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels—a strategy that Merchan described as a “presence of counsel” defense and that he ultimately deemed would be too confusing for the jury to navigate.

The outcome will have historic ramifications not just for Trump but for the entire country. If Trump does end up being sentenced to prison, it remains to be seen how the presumptive GOP presidential nominee will attempt to continue his bid for reelection from a jailhouse—a possibility that many of his followers are falsely claiming the Secret Service has already explored.

Regardless, several prominent far-right politicians have already indicated that they will continue to support Trump even if he’s convicted of a felony. In an embarrassing show during an August GOP primary debate, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, biotech investor Vivek Ramaswamy, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former Vice President Mike Pence all indicated that they would continue to support Trump as the Republican nominee even if he’s found guilty in his criminal trials. Others have gone even further: In November, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene told Piers Morgan that she would “absolutely” continue to support Trump’s presidency, even “from a prison cell.”

And Americans are right behind them. An April NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that nearly two-thirds of Republicans would still vote for Trump even if he was found guilty. Only November will show if they make good on that promise.

This story has been updated.



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