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Trump, first former US president found guilty by a criminal court

  • May 30, 2024
  • 9 Min
  • 12

Donald Trump was found guilty Thursday of all counts at his criminal trial in New York for concealed payments to an porn star, an earthquake for the former American president who denounced a ” shame “ in the middle of the race for the White House.

This verdict, the first in the history of the United States against a former president, will not prevent the Republican billionaire from being a candidate in the presidential election on November 5, against Democrat Joe Biden, even in the event of a sentence. from prison.

The sentencing by Manhattan court judge Juan Merchan will take place on July 11, four days before the Republican Party convention which is to nominate Donald Trump, 77, as the American right’s presidential candidate.

In the meantime, he remains free.

The former tenant of the White House (2017-2021), who in a decade has shaken up American democracy, remained stoic, shoulders lowered, in the courtroom after the reading of the verdict, according to a journalist from the AFP.

Leaving the courtroom where he has come every day since mid-April, he denounced a trial “rigged”a ” shame “and assured that the “true verdict” would fall on November 5.

In the park in front of the courthouse, anti-Trump demonstrators congratulated each other when they learned of the verdict.

Trump, first former US president found guilty by a criminal court

The convoy carrying Donald Trump leaves the Manhattan court after the verdict of his trial is announced, May 30, 2024 / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

“I’m 60 years old, I’m a gay New Yorker and I’ve lived mostly here, and this is one of the rare times where, truly, no one is above the law in America of America »John Rudy told an AFP journalist.

Uncertain consequences

After two days of deliberations, the 12 jurors unanimously declared Donald Trump guilty of all 34 crimes of falsifying accounting documents, intended to hide a payment of $130,000 to porn actress Stormy Daniels to avoid a sex scandal at the very end of his 2016 presidential campaign.

“You gave this matter the attention it deserved”Judge Juan Merchan told jurors, his voice trembling, that Donald Trump called “corrupt” outside the court during the entire trial.

In theory, Donald Trump faces up to four years in prison, possibly accompanied by a fine. But the judge can also impose a suspended prison sentence, or even community service.

The verdict falls in the middle of the presidential campaign, with the first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on June 27 and the Republican convention in Milwaukee (July 15-18), where the billionaire will officially receive his party’s nomination.

Five months before the election, the consequences of this decision on the ballot are difficult to predict, especially since the Republican magnate is expected to appeal.

“It’s probably not going to move many votes”predicted a political scientist at Texas Christian University, Keith Gaddie.

Since 2023, his indictments in four separate criminal cases and his three civil convictions — legal troubles he describes as ” witch hunt “ orchestrated by the Democratic establishment — did not prevent him from winning his party’s primary hands down.

But according to several polls, some of the voters favorable to Donald Trump could now give up voting for him.

Sex scandal

Deprived of a campaign on the ground, Donald Trump still used his trial to capture media attention, speaking several times a day outside the courtroom, flanked by his children or elected Republican officials. came to support him.

Trump, first former US president found guilty by a criminal court

Porn actress Stormy Daniels leaves the New York court after testifying during the trial of Donald Trump, May 9, 2024 / Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP

But he refused to testify during his trial.

For six weeks, the jurors delved behind the scenes of the 2016 presidential campaign, ultimately victorious but where the fear of a sex scandal seemed omnipresent in the Trump camp.

Stormy Daniels received, a few days before the election, $130,000 to keep quiet about a sexual relationship she claims to have had with Donald Trump in 2006, when he was still a real estate and entertainment mogul and he was already married to his wife Melania.

The testimony of the ex-actress was one of the high points of the debates. She notably recounted in detail this sexual relationship, according to her consensual but where the ” balance of power “ was “unbalanced”. Donald Trump denies that this episode took place.

The $130,000 was paid to the actress by the billionaire’s former confidant, Michael Cohen, who has since become his sworn enemy.

When the latter was reimbursed in 2017, by several checks signed by Donald Trump, then in the White House, the expenses were disguised as “legal costs” in the accounts of the Trump Organization.

For the prosecutors, behind these accounting falsifications, “the heart of the matter (was) a conspiracy and a cover-up” to win the election against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The defense brushed aside this theory, ensuring that Donald Trump, who became president, did not know the details of the paperwork when he paid Michael Cohen.