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Trump Found Guilty in Hush Money Trial

Former U.S. president can still contest and win the next presidential election—even if he is incarcerated at sentencing hearing in July

by Staff Report

File photo. Angela Weiss—AFP

A New York jury on Thursday found former U.S. president Donald Trump guilty on all 34 counts in his criminal hush money trial, making him the first U.S. president to be convicted of a crime in the country’s history.

The jury delivered its verdict after two days of deliberations, with sentencing to take place on July 11. New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan has allowed Trump to remain free without any need for bail until the sentencing, which carries a maximum imprisonment of four years.

Trump, 77, has denied all charges, and is likely to appeal the sentence. However, if incarcerated, he would be unable to campaign for the presidential elections in November, or take office if he wins. Confusion persists among constitutional experts, however, who note this is “untested” territory, as there is no legal provision—or bar—on someone serving as president from prison. Republicans have long contended that Trump could pardon himself it he were re-elected, but this also has never been tested in the past and might require the Supreme Court to issue a ruling.

The case against Trump involves ex-porn star Stormy Daniels, with prosecutors alleging he falsified business records to hide a $130,000 hush money payment to her ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The trial lasted over six weeks, with Trump maintaining that the charges were “rigged” and even “Mother Teresa could not beat these charges.”

This narrative, say pundits, could help Trump in the presidential election, as he and President Joe Biden are currently neck-and-neck in opinion polls. However, a possibility exists of the conviction turning away conservative Republicans, which could boost Biden’s chances.

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