Jury finds Trump guilty on all counts in New York criminal trial

Former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all counts by a panel of 12 jurors on Thursday in the New York criminal trial, according to liveupdates from the courthouse. After roughly 11 and a half hours over two days, the jury reached its verdict.

“Please let there be no reactions, no outbursts of any kind,” acting Justice Juan Merchan said before the jury read its verdict.

Trump was facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, filed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) last year. The prosecution accused Trump of marking payments made to his then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, as legal expenses in an attempt to cover up a $130,000 settlement payment the attorney made to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged affair with the former president.

‘We think that appears to be a highly unlikely outcome here.’

Trump pleaded not guilty to all counts and denied Daniels’ allegations.

The defense argued that the monthly $35,000 payments made to Cohen in 2017, totaling $420,000, were for legal services. However, Cohen claimed a portion of the funds were reimbursement for his payment to Daniels.

Trump could not leave the courthouse while the jury was deliberating.

“Very unfair that I am not being allowed to Campaign. Crooked Joe Biden Witch Hunt. Third World Country!!!” Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social.

On Tuesday morning, Merchan delivered jury instructions, during which he told the panel that they did not need to agree on the “unlawful means” to render a unanimous guilty verdict against Trump.

“You need not be unanimous as to what those unlawful means were … you may consider: violations of FECA [Federal Election Campaign Act], falsification of other business records, violation of tax laws,” he added.

Legal expert Jonathan Turley explained in a post on X, “Merchan just delivered the coup de grace instruction. He said that there is no need to agree on what occurred. They can disagree on what the crime was among the three choices. Thus, this means that they could split 4-4-4 and he will still treat them as unanimous.”

Journalist Paul Ingrassia remarked that Merchan’s jury instructions “may be the broadest definition of a crime in history.” He accused the judge of “literally throwing the whole book at the jury.”

On Wednesday, after roughly four and a half hours of deliberations, the jury requested to hear a readback of several parts of witness testimony, including former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker’s statements regarding his phone conversation with Trump in June 2016 and a meeting in August 2015 at Trump Tower. Jurors asked to hear Pecker’s testimony concerning a payment from AMI, the media outlet’s parent company, to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claimed she had an affair with Trump.

Cohen’s testimony regarding the meeting at Trump Tower was also requested by the jury.

Additionally, the panel asked to hear Merchan’s jury instructions again. New York state courts prohibit jurors from receiving a written copy of the instructions.

On Thursday morning, ahead of the readbacks requested from the previous day, the jury submitted another note specifying which part of Merchan’s instructions they would like to hear again. The panel also requested headphones or speakers for the evidence laptop.

Trump spoke out about Merchan’s jury instructions in a post on Truth Social on Thursday, stating, “The Jury Instructions given by HIGHLY CONFLICTED Judge, Juan Merchan, were UNFAIR, MISLEADING, INACCURATE, AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL. They were also VERY CONFUSING (Just what the Judge wanted!), BECAUSE THERE WAS NO CRIME!”

Earlier Thursday afternoon, the jury left the courtroom to continue deliberations. During the lunch break, the panel did not request any additional notes.

Will Scharf, an attorney for Trump, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that they are prepared to appeal if Trump is convicted.

“If there were to be a conviction here, which we believe would be a gravely unjust verdict, we would speedily appeal to the New York Appellate division, potentially to the New York Court of Appeals as well. And we’ll take that step if we get there,” Scharf stated. “But so far, we think that appears to be a highly unlikely outcome here.”

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