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Donald Trump Found Guilty on All 34 Counts in Stormy Daniels Hush-Money Trial

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NEW YORK, USA — Former President Donald Trump has been found guilty of all 34 counts of falsifying business records in a criminal scheme to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

The verdict, delivered after less than twelve hours of jury deliberation on Thursday, May 30, 2024, marks the first criminal conviction of a former U.S. president and a significant moment in American political history.

The charges stemmed from allegations that Trump falsely recorded reimbursements to his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, as “legal expenses.”

Cohen had paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep her silent about an affair with Trump, which prosecutors argued was an attempt to illegally influence the election.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump said at the courthouse after the verdict was read. “This was a rigged trial, a disgrace.”

The Manhattan district attorney’s office argued that Trump’s false records were intended to conceal his violation of New York state election law, which prohibits promoting the election of any person through unlawful means.

The $130,000 payment to Daniels was deemed an illegal campaign contribution, as it exceeded the $2,700 individual contribution cap and was made solely to benefit Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Over the course of four weeks, the prosecution called 20 witnesses to establish how Trump conspired with tabloid mogul David Pecker and Cohen to suppress stories about his alleged affairs with Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Witnesses recounted how Trump’s concern over the Daniels story intensified after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape, in which he was heard bragging about sexually assaulting women.

Cohen testified that he used a home equity loan to raise the $130,000 he paid to Daniels’ lawyer through a shell company, believing Trump would reimburse him.

Cohen also described an illicit repayment plan where he would receive $420,000, an inflated sum that covered the hush-money payment and other expenses.

The trial saw Cohen, Daniels, and various Trump confidants and employees testify about the scheme.

Cohen proved to be a crucial witness, detailing how he filed bogus invoices for legal services to cover up the reimbursements and implicating Trump as the mastermind behind the plot.

“Just take care of it,” Cohen recalled Trump saying. “This was a disaster, a fucking disaster. Women will hate me.”

Cohen provided 11 invoices seeking payment for a non-existent legal “retainer,” leading to 11 checks being issued to Cohen and 12 false entries recorded in the Trump Organization’s ledger.

These 34 instances of falsification formed the basis of the charges against Trump.

During the trial, Daniels testified about her affair with Trump, which began after a celebrity golf event in Lake Tahoe nearly two decades ago.

Daniels described an encounter in Trump’s hotel room where he asked her about her work as an adult film actor and showed her photos of his wife, Melania.

“You remind me of my daughter, she is smart and blonde and beautiful and people underestimate her as well,” Daniels recalled Trump saying.

She described how Trump tried to block her exit from the room before they had sex.

The prosecution argued that Trump’s desperation to suppress the Daniels story was due to its potential to undermine his dismissal of the Access Hollywood tape as “locker room talk.”

Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass suggested that the scheme may have played a pivotal role in Trump’s election victory.

“This scheme, cooked up by these men, at this time, could very well be what got President Trump elected,” Steinglass said.

The conviction presents a perilous political moment for Trump, who remains the presumptive nominee for the Republican nomination.

While his poll numbers have remained steady throughout the trial, the guilty verdict introduces uncertainty about his future prospects.

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