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Donald Trump guilty – what does that mean? Answers to the most important questions

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A jury in Manhattan State Court in New York on Thursday found former US President Donald Trump guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with concealing payment for the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election campaign. What now? We answer the most important questions.

Of what he was found guilty Donald Trump?

The prosecutor's office alleged that Trump, by concealing a payment of PLN 130,000 for Stormy Daniels' silence about their alleged relationship, tried to illegally influence elections.

The jury agreed with investigators that by classifying the invoices to then-lawyer Michael Cohen as payment for legal services, Trump had broken the law with the intent to commit another crime, including violating campaign finance laws.

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Trump was found guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records. The verdict was reached unanimously after less than two days of jury deliberations and after a trial lasting over a month.

The word “Guilty” written in chalk 34 times near Trump TowerPAP/EPA/PETER FOLEY

Can Donald Trump go to prison? When will we find out about the amount of the sentence?

The judge in charge of the case, Juan Merchan, will decide on the sentence during a hearing on July 11.

As Reuters wrote, the maximum sentence for falsifying business records is four years in prison.

Most commentators do not expect Trump to be sentenced to prison, but house arrest or supervision are among the possible scenarios.

Donald Trump guilty. American media commentsTVN24

Reuters noted that prison time is rare for people convicted in New York state of falsifying business records.

After the verdict is announced, Trump will be able to appeal it, and in the meantime he will remain free.

Has there been a similar incident in the past?

NO. Trump stayed the first in history US president convicted in a criminal case.

Former US President Donald TrumpJUSTIN LANE/PAP/EPA

Will Donald Trump be able to run and then sit in the White House?

Yes, even if the judgment becomes final.

How did Donald Trump comment on the ruling?

Immediately after the ruling, Trump described the jury's decision as “disgraceful.”

– It was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who is corrupt. This trial was a disgrace (…) But the real verdict will be delivered on November 5 (the date of the US presidential election) by the people, Trump said after the end of his criminal trial in his case.

Donald Trump's comment after the verdict was announced

Donald Trump's comment after the verdict was announcedTVN24

– Everyone knows what happened here. We have a Soros-backed prosecutor and this whole thing… we didn't do anything wrong. I am a very innocent man, Trump said. He also accused that the trial conducted by the New York state authorities was the work of the Biden administration to harm a political opponent.

– We will fight for our constitution. This is far from over, he declared.

How the ruling commented Joe Biden?

The US president limited himself to a one-sentence comment on the X platform.

“There is only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box,” he wrote. A similarly short statement was issued by one of the White House spokesman, Ian Sams. “We respect the rule of law and have no further comments,” he said.

How might the ruling affect Donald Trump's election campaign?

American professor Zbigniew Lewicki, when asked what finding Trump guilty means for American politics, replied that “it portends serious trouble and real problems, because he will be the candidate of the main party in the presidential elections.”

– All kinds of proceedings, of which there are several against him, are perceived by his supporters as maneuvers of the establishment aimed at making it difficult for him to run for office. This will cause tensions to increase and various forms of violence may occur, making what happened in January 2021 suddenly turn out to be a minor event, he said.

Donald Trump was found guilty in a criminal trialOLGA FEDOROVA/PAP/EPA

When asked whether, paradoxically, finding guilt might be to Trump's advantage, he replied: – Yes, it might be to his advantage. In his opinion, “this will deepen the besieged fortress syndrome even more, and its supporters will be even more convinced that something is wrong here.”

Political scientist and Americanist Dr. Karol Szulc expressed a similar tone. – For voters, and especially for Donald Trump's followers, it does not matter at all, because they are convinced of his innocence. And there is no force that would change their minds, he said.

READ MORE: “A turning point in the USA”, “uncharted territory”. World media about the verdict in the Trump case

What about Donald Trump's other trials?

The New York trial is one of four in which prosecutors brought criminal charges against Trump. However, it will probably be the only one that will end before the November elections. If Trump wins, he will be able to order the dropping of charges against him in cases involving the illegal retention of secret documents and attempts to illegally stay in power.

However, he will still face charges from the state prosecutor's office in Georgia, which accused him of leading a criminal group aimed at staying in power despite losing the 2020 elections.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/PETER FOLEY

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