Donald Trump is the first U.S. President found guilty of a crime

Donald Trump has become the first American President to be found guilty of committing a crime, after a jury convicted him in New York.
Donald Trump's hush money trial has wrapped up in New York.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has become the first president to be found guilty of committing a crime.

A 12-member jury unanimously found Trump guilty of 34 counts of falsifying his business records to cover up hush money payments he made before his 2016 presidential bid.

He made the payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels to stop her from publicly revealing their sexual encounter from a decade earlier, which Trump denies occured.

Here’s how Trump became the first president to be found guilty of a crime.

The case

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump arranged for a $US130,000 ($AU200k) payment to be made to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had sex with him a decade earlier.

Trump instructed his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, to facilitate the payment to Daniels in exchange for her silence. It’s then alleged that Trump falsified multiple business records to hide the payment — a criminal offence in the U.S. state of New York.

He pleaded not guilty to 34 charges in New York’s Supreme Court.

Trump fined

During the trial, Trump violated a court order that banned him from making public statements about jurors and witnesses outside of court.

The court also found Trump posted about the trial on his social media platform ‘Truth Social’.

It led to him being found ‘in contempt of court’ twice. He was fined a total of $US10,000 ($AU15,000).

Stormy Daniels

Stormy Daniels appeared in the witness box during the trial where she detailed an alleged sexual encounter with Trump at a U.S. resort in 2006.

Trump denies having sex with Daniels.

After Daniels’ testimony, Justice Juan Merchan said some of the evidence she gave would “probably have been better left unsaid”.

Michael Cohen

Trump’s ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted to organising the payments to Daniels on Trump’s behalf.

He also admitted to suppressing negative stories about Trump to avoid them being reported on in the media.

Cohen also claimed that Trump reimbursed him for the payment, but attempted to disguise the funds as legitimate legal expenses.

Closing argument

Trump (the defendant) did not give evidence during the trial. His lawyers called two witnesses to the stand. The prosecution’s lawyers summoned more than 20, including Daniels and Cohen.

In closing arguments from the defence, Trump’s lawyers tried to discredit Michael Cohen, calling him the “GLOAT — Greatest Liar Of All Time.”

The prosecution’s closing argument lasted over five hours. Daniels’ lawyers accused Trump of overseeing a “conspiracy and a cover-up” to help him win the 2016 presidential election.

De Niro

Actor Robert De Niro and members of President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign made an appearance outside the courthouse at the end of the trial.

De Niro condemned Trump as a “tyrant” and a “danger” to the lives of Americans.

“If Trump returns to the White House, you can kiss [your] freedoms goodbye,” he said.

Trump supporters attempted to disrupt De Niro’s press conference.

Guilty verdict

After a day of deliberations, the jury found Donald Trump guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up the hush money payments.

New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan will hand down his sentence on 11 July.

The judge could decide to send Trump to jail, as the offences carry a maximum four years imprisonment.

Trump appeared outside the court after the verdict was delivered, where he claimed the trial was “rigged”.

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