Thursday, June 20, 2024

Trump found guilty – “the real verdict will come on November 5”


Former President Donald Trump in court on Thursday. Photo: Seth Wenig / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 31.05.2024 02:13:00

Crime and justice: Trump was indicted for violating the Accounting Act in connection with a payment of 130,000 dollars, just over NOK 1.4 million, to Stephanie Clifford, better known as the porn actress Stormy Daniels.

The so-called hush money was paid via Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen just before the presidential election in 2016, allegedly so that Clifford would keep a close eye on the fact that she and Trump had had sex in a hotel ten years earlier.

He himself denies both having had sex with Daniels and having done something illegal.

– This was a case that was fixed in advance, a shameful trial. The real verdict will come on November 5, from the people, Trump said on his way out of the Manhattan courthouse on Thursday.

November 5 is the date of the US presidential election, which for all practical purposes is between incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

– I am a very innocent man, and that is OK. I fight for our country. I’m fighting for the Constitution, Trump said.

He has refused to testify in the case.

The offenses carry a penalty of up to four years in prison, but it is not clear whether the prosecution is in favor of that. Either way, it won’t stop Trump from trying to be elected president.

It is the first time in the United States’ 250-year history that a former president has been convicted of a serious crime. The jury took nine and a half hours over two days to reach their decision. Trump sat stony-faced during the reading.

Outside the courthouse, both supporters and opponents of Trump had gathered, and their voices could be heard in the corridor outside the courtroom on the 15th floor.

For another candidate, being able to have a conviction in a criminal case has spoiled the election campaign, but in his political career Trump has been through, among other things, two impeachment cases, accusations of sexual abuse and investigations into everything from possible ties to Russia to plans to change the election result.

In any case, it does not seem as if Trump will lose support in the party after the court’s decision. The leader of the House of Representatives, Republican Mike Johnson, calls the decision against Trump “a day of shame in American history.” He refers to the case as “only a political exercise, not a legal one”.

At the same time, he is clear about what the voters must do.

– There is only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office – at the ballot box, the Biden staff member asserts.

– The judge can choose to give Trump a fine or a suspended sentence. He has no previous criminal convictions. If he gets a lenient sentence, I think that this sentence could become more politically palatable for the Trump voters, says Høgestøl.

She doubts whether Trump will spend time getting overturned a lenient sentence that he does not lose politically.

– Then I am not sure whether he will appeal the verdict. Then I think he will pay the fine and rather focus on other things, she says.

– This is a shame, was the former president’s very first reaction to the press when the outcome was clear.

The sentencing in the case will come on 11 July, says judge Juan Merchan. It is only days before Trump is formally chosen as the Republican candidate.

Trump is also charged with serious crimes – what is referred to in the US as a “felony”, but the bribery case is probably the only one that will be decided before the election.

– In New York today, we saw that no one is above the law, says Michael Tyler, head of communications in Joe Biden’s campaign apparatus.

USA expert Sofie Høgestøl is not sure whether the verdict against Donald Trump will weaken him. She believes a lenient sentence will be politically palatable for Trump voters, writes The online newspaper.


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