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Manhattan jury finds former president Donald Trump guilty on 34 felony counts

donald trump A Manhattan jury on Thursday convicted former president Donald Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up a hush-money payment to a porn actress on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.

The convictions make Trump the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a felony, and presumably, he will also soon be the first convicted felon to receive a major-party presidential nomination, assuming that Republicans still nominate him at their convention on July 18.

A week earlier, on July 11, Trump will be back in the Manhattan courtroom that hosted the historic trial for the past six weeks, in front of the judge, Juan Merchan, who he derided in post-verdict comments as “corrupt,” for sentencing.

Each of the convictions carries with it a possible sentence of four years in state prison.

“This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” a somber Trump told reporters after leaving the courtroom, basically daring Merchan, who had put Trump under a gag order during the trial to prevent him from issuing statements to intimidate jurors and prosecutors, to give him jail time.

Even with the dare, it doesn’t seem likely that Merchan will end up giving Trump time behind bars, given the political stakes – and if he does, it would almost certainly be well off into the future, presuming that Trump and his legal team follow up with their promises to file appeals.

The next steps in the case include a pre-sentencing report that will include a review of Trump’s criminal record, personal history – you have to think the $500 million-plus in civil judgments against Trump in the defamation and business-fraud cases decided by separate New York juries earlier this year would come into play – and the nature of the crimes that he has just been convicted of.

That pre-sentencing report is also supposed to describe whether “the defendant is in a counseling program or has a steady job.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].