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Jury reaches verdict in Donald Trump hush-money trial

Jury reveals verdict

Source: X (MSNBC)

Donald Trump has been found guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election.

Jurors in the historic criminal trial reached a sensational verdict on Friday morning (AEDT) after nearly two days of deliberations.

Trump was found guilty on every count as he became the first former president to be convicted of a crime.

The 12-person panel revealed its decision in a New York courtroom. Jurors must reach any verdict unanimously.

Trump reportedly was motionless and stared straight ahead as each guilty count was revealed.

The court officer then asked if either party wanted the jury polled, to which Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche said ‘Yes’, CNN reports.

At that point Trump looked toward the jury box as each juror confirmed their verdict.

Trump: ‘A disgrace’

In true form, a somewhat stunned-looking Trump later addressed cameras outside the courtroom and called the trial “rigged”.

“This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who is corrupt. It’s a rigged trial. A disgrace,” he said.

“The real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here.”

Trump repeated his claim that he “didn’t do an anything wrong”.

“I’m a very innocent man and it’s OK, I’m fighting for our country, I’m fighting for our country, I’m fighting for our constitution.”

“This was done by the Biden administration in order to wound or hurt an opponent, a political opponent, and I think it’s just a disgrace and we’ll keep fighting. We’ll fight to the end and we’ll win.

“Because our country has gone to hell. We don’t have the same country any more.”

The verdict plunges the United States into unexplored territory ahead of the November 5 presidential election, when Trump, the Republican candidate, will try to win the White House back from Democratic President Joe Biden.

Trump, 77, has denied wrongdoing and was expected to appeal.

He faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, though others convicted of that crime often receive shorter sentences, fines or probation.

Incarceration would not prevent him from campaigning, or taking office if he were to win.

Jurors earlier asked Justice Juan Merchan to repeat the detailed instructions he had given them to guide their deliberations.

New York prosecutors charged Trump, 77, with falsifying business documents to try to cover up a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election.

Trump pleaded not guilty and denies wrongdoing.

Jurors on Wednesday (local time) appeared to be taking a close look at the testimony of star witness Michael Cohen, the estranged former Trump fixer who paid the $US130,000 in hush money that ensured Daniels would not tell voters about her alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump.

Trump denies ever having sex with Daniels.

Cohen also testified that he and Trump discussed a plan to reimburse him through monthly payments disguised as legal fees — the alleged conduct that spurred the criminal charges.

Jurors asked Merchan for a transcript of portions of Cohen’s testimony.

They also asked Merchan for testimony from David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid, who had told jurors that he worked with Trump to suppress stories that might have hurt the businessman-turned-politician’s campaign.

Trump’s lawyers have said Cohen’s testimony is unreliable, pointing to his criminal record and a history of lying.

Merchan also told jurors they needed to scrutinise his testimony carefully because he was an accomplice to the acts he described.

Prosecutors have said emails and other evidence support Cohen’s testimony.

Opinion polls show Trump and Biden locked in a tight race, but Reuters/Ipsos polling has found that a guilty verdict could cost Trump support.

Trump faces three other criminal prosecutions, but they are not expected to go to trial before the November election.

He has pleaded not guilty in all of them.

-with AAP

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