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Mohave County
June 2024
Volume 24 Issue 4
COMPLIMENTARY

Jun 2024 | General, June 2024 | 0 comments

Donald Trump convicted of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in NY

General, June 2024 | 0 comments

June 2024

NATION – In a historic ruling that sent shockwaves through the political and legal spheres, former U.S. President Donald Trump was convicted on May 30, 2024 of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. This marks the first time in American history that a former president has been found guilty of a crime, setting a monumental legal precedent with far-reaching implications.
The charges stemmed from a $130,000 hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors alleged that Trump falsely recorded this payment and related expenses as legal fees in the Trump Organization’s business records. The intent, they argued, was to conceal the true nature of the payments and circumvent campaign finance laws in order to prevent a scandal that could have derailed Trump’s presidential bid.
Over the course of the four-week trial that began on April 15, 2024, the prosecution called 22 witnesses who provided damning testimony against the former president. Key among them were Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen and David Pecker, the former CEO of the company that owns the National Enquirer tabloid.
Cohen, who had previously pled guilty to facilitating the payment to Daniels on Trump’s behalf, took the stand to provide intimate details of the scheme. He alleged that Trump was fully aware of and directed the payments, as well as the false recording of the expenses in the company’s records.
Pecker corroborated Cohen’s account, testifying about his own involvement in a practice known as “catch and kill” – where the Enquirer would purchase the exclusive rights to potentially damaging stories about Trump only to bury them. Pecker detailed three such instances in 2016 involving Daniels, a former Trump Tower doorman, and former Playboy model Karen McDougal.
The jury, having heard the evidence, determined that Trump knowingly falsified 34 business records – including checks, invoices, and ledger entries – relating to the reimbursement of Cohen for the hush money. They concluded that Trump did so with fraudulent intent and to conceal other crimes, namely violations of New York state election laws and tax fraud.
With the guilty verdict, attention now turns to Trump’s sentencing, scheduled for July 11, 2024. As a first-time offender convicted of white-collar crimes, legal experts suggest he may be facing probation rather than prison time. However, with the charges carrying a potential sentence of up to four years per count, the possibility of some jail time cannot be ruled out. The final decision rests with the judge.
Despite the conviction, Trump currently remains free to travel domestically and abroad, as no restrictions have been imposed. Any potential travel limitations related to the case would likely be addressed during sentencing.
From a political standpoint, the conviction does not automatically disqualify Trump from running for or serving as president again, as the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit convicted felons from holding the nation’s highest office. Trump has vowed to continue his 2024 campaign, presenting an unprecedented scenario of a presidential candidate actively appealing a criminal conviction during an election.
Beyond Trump’s personal legal jeopardy, this case sets a new precedent in American politics and jurisprudence. Never before has a former president faced criminal accountability of this magnitude. The outcome challenges long-held assumptions about the legal invincibility of those who have held the nation’s highest office.
Legal scholars and political pundits alike are closely watching to see how this historic verdict influences the handling of any future criminal allegations against political leaders. The implications could be profound, potentially ushering in a new era of accountability at the intersection of law and politics.
As the nation awaits Trump’s sentencing and further developments in this unparalleled case, one thing is certain: May 30, 2024 will be remembered as a defining moment in American history, when presidential immunity was put to the test and found wanting in the face of the rule of law.
–Stephen Lightman

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