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Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in Manhattan on April 3, 2023 in New York City© Getty

Donald Trump found guilty on all counts in historic hush money, election interference trial

The former president, now a convicted felon, still has several other trials looming over him

Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
May 30, 2024
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The historic, first ever criminal trial against a former president, the first of various trials plaguing Donald Trump, has come to an end.

On Thursday, May 30, a jury found the former president guilty on all counts of the 34 counts in his hush money, election interference case brought forward by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg. He is now a convicted felon.

The trial first began on April 15, one year after the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was charged with 34 felony counts for falsifying business records in an attempt to silence his alleged mistress, Stormy Daniels, ahead of his 2016 run for president, which Bragg claimed directly impacted the election.

Trump, speaking shortly after jury deliberation started on Wednesday, did not seem positive that the trial — which he described as "rigged" — would result in a positive outcome for him, claiming that not even Mother Theresa could survive such a case.

He arrived to the courthouse shortly after 9am EST on Wednesday, and was ordered to remain in the courthouse while the judge delivered instructions to the jury and as they engaged in deliberations — which began at 11:30am —  something various experts on him emphasized would be of great chagrin to the oft-volatile politician. 

The jury, which was made up of five women and seven men, had in a total of 11 hours of deliberation, and announced they had reached a unanimous decision around 4:30pm on Thursday.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for the first day of his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 15, 2024 in New York City. Former President Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial© Getty
Trump spent the past six weeks in court

There was much that the 12 needed to consider throughout the trial: not only decide on a verdict for each of the 34 counts Trump was facing, but also witness credibility, specifically whether they found Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen's testimony credible. He was described in closing arguments from Trump's legal team as "literally like the MVP of liars."

MORE: Could Donald Trump actually go to jail? Your burning questions on his hush money trial answered

MORE: Barron Trump declines role as Florida Delegate amid father Donald Trump's criminal trial — here's why

Reacting to the news, Trump continued his recurring spiel that the trial was rigged, telling reporters shortly after the verdict was read: "Our whole country is being rigged right now. This was done by the Biden administration in order to wound or hurt an opponent, a political opponent," and emphasized that the "real verdict" would come on November 5th, election day.

Barron Trump alongside his parents Donald and Melania Trump and two of his half-siblings, Ivanka and Eric© Getty Images
Eric Trump was in the courthouse on verdict day

What was the trial about?

Daniels and Trump allegedly had a one-time affair in 2006 in a Nevada hotel room, one year after he married current, third wife Melania Trump, née Knauss. Daniels was paid $130,000 by Cohen to sign a nondisclosure agreement about the relationship, which Trump reimbursed, however he has maintained his innocence and that the payments were unrelated.

While in New York falsifying business records is usually a misdemeanor punishable by no more than one year in prison, it becomes a felony punishable by up to four years in prison when done in order to either exacerbate or conceal a previous crime, in this case the campaign finance violation.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 24: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport after being booked at the Fulton County jail on August 24, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. Trump was booked on multiple charges related to an alleged plan to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)© Getty
This was the first ever criminal trial against a former US president

Could Trump actually go to jail now?

Yes, but it depends. Though the maximum penalty for each of the 34 counts is four years, New York has a 20-year cap on sentencing for such felonies, and it is up to the judge whether he would serve them concurrently or consecutively, if at all. A sentencing has been scheduled for July 11.

Per CNN, because the nature of the crimes isn't violent and he doesn't have a criminal record, the judge could also decide to jail him for significantly less than what the maximum sentence is.

Or, he could avoid prison time completely, and be on probation instead, but with the chance of going to jail always a possibility should he violate conditions set by the judge.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump appears ahead of the start of jury selection at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 15, 2024 in New York City. Former President Donald Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial© Getty
Now a convicted felon, Trump continues to maintain his innocence

Can Trump run for president from prison?

There are no legal obstacles preventing Trump, or anyone, from running for president as a convicted felon, or even from jail itself. Per the Constitution, anyone can serve as president "even if he's a convicted felon or even if he's a convicted felon in the joint."

In fact, Trump wouldn't be the first person to try to run for president from behind bars. Most famously, in 1920, socialist Eugene V. Debs became the Socialist Party nominee, and garnered one million votes (3% of the popular vote), while serving a ten-year federal sentence after he encouraged people to resist the World War I draft.

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