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Donald Trump convicted, found guilty of falsifying documents

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In a historic verdict that has shaken the nation, former President Donald Trump has become the first U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

A New York jury found him guilty on all 34 felony counts of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

The jury, comprising 12 members, deliberated for two days before delivering the unanimous verdict, which was read out by Justice Juan Merchan. Trump, 77, watched stoically as the jurors confirmed their decision.

Justice Merchan scheduled sentencing for July 11, just days before the Republican Party’s scheduled nomination of Trump for president ahead of the November 5 election.

The crime of falsifying business documents carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison, although shorter sentences, fines, or probation are common for such convictions. Trump will remain free on bail until sentencing, which will not legally prevent him from campaigning or taking office if elected.

“This was a disgrace,” Trump told reporters after the verdict, asserting his innocence and decrying what he called a rigged trial against him. “The real verdict will be on November 5 by the people,” he added defiantly, giving a thumbs-up from his SUV as he left the courthouse.

The guilty verdict has thrown the United States into uncharted territory just months before the upcoming election, where Trump seeks to reclaim the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden, 81, who defeated Trump in 2020.

The case, considered the least significant of the four criminal prosecutions Trump faces, revolved around charges that he and his former fixer, Michael Cohen, illegally paid Daniels $130,000 in hush money during the 2016 election. Cohen testified that Trump approved the payment and orchestrated a scheme to reimburse him through disguised monthly payments.

Throughout the trial, Trump’s lawyers attacked Cohen’s credibility, highlighting his criminal record and past lies. However, jurors were convinced by the evidence presented, which included explicit testimony from Daniels about her alleged sexual encounter with Trump in 2006.

The guilty verdict is expected to impact Trump’s political future, potentially costing him support among independent and Republican voters, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

In response to the verdict, the Muslim Media Corporation (MMC) has launched a GoFundMe campaign to support the Lohr family, which aims to bring them back to New York City to experience the city’s love and gratitude despite their ordeal.

Biden’s campaign hailed the verdict as proof that no one is above the law and urged voters to reject Trump in the election. Meanwhile, Trump’s fellow Republicans condemned the verdict, with House Speaker Mike Johnson calling it “a shameful day in American history.”

Trump plans to appeal the verdict swiftly, with his attorney, Will Scharf, telling Fox News, “We are going to appeal as quickly as we can. We will seek expedited review of this case.”

The conviction of a former president is unprecedented in American history and sets the stage for a contentious election season as Trump fights to clear his name and reclaim his political legacy.

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