Jury reaches verdict in Donald Trump’s New York trial

Posted at 5:18 PM, May 30, 2024

A jury convicted former President Donald Trump on all 34 counts of falsifying business records in New York. Trump is now the first American president convicted of a crime.

donald trump appears in court

FILE – Former President Donald Trump sits in Manhattan criminal court, May 21, 2024, in New York. Trump has spent the majority of his time as a criminal defendant sitting nearly motionless, for hours, leaning back in his chair with his eyes closed, so zen he often appeared to be asleep. It is, at least in part, a strategy in response to warnings that behaving like he has in past trials could backfire. (Justin Lane/Pool Photo via AP, File)

The jury reached a verdict after less than two full days of deliberating.

Jurors began deliberating at around noon Wednesday after receiving detailed instructions from Judge Juan Merchan. During jury instructions, Merchan informed jurors that they could not penalize Trump for not testifying as the burden of proof rests with the prosecution.

“You must find the defendant not guilty unless the evidence shows the people have proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” Merchan said. “You may consider all the evidence presented. Remember, even though the defendant introduced evidence, the burden of proof is on the people.”

Prosecutors argued Trump falsified the records to conceal damaging stories, including an alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

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Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and “fixer,” testified that the former president directed him to make a $130,000 payment to Daniels to keep her quiet about an alleged affair. Prosecutors say Trump’s reimbursement to Cohen was disguised as a legal expense, violating state election law.

The defense set out to discredit Cohen, noting that he is a convicted felon with a reputation for lying. Trump’s team had described the nature of the payments to Cohen as “a legal expense.”

However, that argument did not appear to resonate with the jurors.

As for what happens next, the judge will sentence Trump. He faces up to four years in prison. However, since he doesn’t have a prior criminal history, it’s likely he will get a much harsher sentence.

This story was originally published by Scripps News, an E.W. Scripps Company.