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Trump Found Guilty of All 34 Felony Counts in First Criminal Trial

On May 30,2024, former President Donald Trump was found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records, all felony charges. The records at issue were part of a hush money payment scheme orchestrated in order to keep voters deciding the 2016 election from learning that he had had an affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels. 

Trump guilty hush money case
Seth Wenig | Via Reuters

The verdict was reached unanimously by a jury of 7 men and 5 women, all everyday Americans. Their finding of guilty on all 34 counts indicates they believed the prosecution proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.


The jury’s finding of guilt on these counts could hurt Trump, who is running again for the White House in a rematch against President Joe Biden. Polls have shown measurable harm to Trump’s support if a jury finds him guilty, especially with key voting blocks. 


Justice Merchan set the sentencing date for July 11, 2024. Each of these 34 charges carries the possibility of up to 4 years imprisonment, although those terms may be served concurrently. Trump may also receive a sentence that does not include jail time. 


Trial Background

Trump’s lawyer and longtime fixer Michael Cohen handled the $130,000 hush money payment to Daniels. Trump then repaid Cohen, with the repayment falsely described as legal fees. Trump also signed several of the false business records at issue in the trial. 


Cohen, who went to prison for lying to Congress and other charges, was the key witness for the prosecution. He buttressed his testimony with corroborating testimony from other witnesses and documents such as bank records, invoices and checks that Trump signed.


The four weeks of testimony during the history-making trial also featured Daniels’ tell-all testimony about their brief affair, as well as a former tabloid publisher talking about a “catch and kill” scheme. This scheme involved paying for negative stories about Trump  including another story about a woman who stated she had an affair with Trump, and then not running the stories.


Other Criminal Cases Against Trump

Trump, the only former American president to ever face criminal charges, has three other criminal cases pending against him. At the state level, in August 2023, he was charged in Georgia with participating in an illegal scheme to steal the 2020 election. At the federal level, Special counsel Jack Smith brought similar federal charges in Washington, D.C., alleging attempts to sway the 2020 election. Smith also separately brought charges that Trump illegally took classified documents containing highly sensitive information from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago club.  


None of the other three criminal cases are currently scheduled to go forward before the 2024 Presidential Election. 


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