Posted by Roger Mallett Posted on 2 June 2024

The Presidential Election Has Just Caught Fire: Instant Analysis of Trump’s Explosive Guilty Verdict

And why the real battle for the soul of America begins NOW

Donald Trump becomes the first ever former President of the United States to be convicted of a crime

A unanimous New York jury found him guilty on all 34 counts of illegally trying to cover up a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to stifle a sex scandal that he feared would derail his 2016 presidential campaign only days before America went to the polls.

Paying the hush money was not in itself illegal but the prosecution successfully argued that it was designed to influence the outcome of the election — a violation of election laws and, argued the prosecutors, the underlying crime.

This is highly contentious territory — especially since the trial heard next to nothing about campaign law violations — which is why the guilty verdict will be immediately appealed. Trump’s defense lawyers have 30 days to prepare an appeal.

Guilty on 34 counts sounds worse than it is. It only refers to the number of instalments by which Trump arranged for his then lawyer and sleazy fixer, Michael Cohen, to be reimbursed for paying Daniels.

The prosecution argued convincingly that Trump and his people had covered up these repayments to hide their true purpose. But doctoring corporate book-keeping entries under New York law is only a misdemeanour or minor crime, usually involving just a slap on the wrist.

It was linking the payments to a breach of campaign finance law which elevated the matter to proper criminality. For many observers the link is highly tenuous. It was barely discussed during the trial and nobody testified that such a link even existed.

Those salivating at the prospect of Trump now doing jail time will have to be patient.

Trump will not be held in remand pending sentencing. He is hardly a flight risk. It was a white-collar crime involving someone with no previous convictions. Jail would be an unusual outcome.

But then this whole trial has been unusual.

Sentencing will not take place until July 11, when Trump could face anything from probation to four years behind bars.

But even if the judge decides on jail, the guilty verdict will be appealed and Trump will remain free until the appeal process is concluded.

Click here to read the full article on Daily Mail Online.

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