Donald Trump found guilty on all counts in criminal hush money trial

Former US president convicted on 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels

Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, was found guilty on all 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in the first degree after the jury returned its verdict in a courtroom in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon.

The verdict means that Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee in this year’s presidential election, becomes the first former president in the history of the US to be found guilty in a criminal case.

The verdict was reached just when everyone in the courthouse in downtown Manhattan was beginning to mentally unwind for the day. It was 4.40pm. Soon, Justice Juan Merchan would tell the 12 jurors to break for the day.

In the morning, they had twice requested specific pieces of testimony from key witnesses, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and David Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer. Those testimonies were acted out by court officials who spoke, reporters covering the trial noted, in broad New York accents.


All the main television news channels carried a live clock counter of the hours and minutes the jury spent locked inside, discussing the minutiae of the case. It was the 11th hour of a decision which, speculation went, could last weeks. The end-of-day mood was relaxed, with Trump and his defence team talking and laughing when the most shocking news in a trial defined by shocks, came through.

The jury had reached its verdict.

Just after 5pm, the jury were back in the courtroom. The former president’s demeanour was reported as formal: sitting upright in his chair and looking ahead of him as all 18 jurors – the twelve who decided upon the verdict and six alternates – took their place in the courtroom.

“We received a note from you signed by your jury foreperson at 4.20pm,” Justice Merchan said.

Count one was guilty. Falsifying business records in the first degree.

A guilty verdict was recorded in the next four felony charges of falsifying business records in the first degree.

The verdicts continued through all 34 charges. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. And on and on. All of this was conveyed to the American public through the prism of television studios: it was left to their imagination to summon up the atmosphere inside the courtroom.

Todd Blanche, the lead defence attorney requested the jurors be polled individually after the verdicts were returned. Judge Merchan thanked the jurors for “dedication and hard work” throughout the trial, telling them they had “engaged in a very stressful and difficult case”.

Trump left the courtroom minutes after the jurors and looked wrathful as he stopped before the television cameras to deliver a summary of what he has maintained since the trial began.

“This was a disgrace,” he said.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge that was corrupt. It was a rigged trial, a disgrace. They wouldn’t give us a venue change – we are at five per cent or six per cent in this district. This was a rigged disgraceful trial. The real verdict is going to be on November 5th by the people. And they know what happened here. And everybody knows what happened here.

“We didn’t do a thing wrong. I’m a very innocent man.

“And its okay ... I’m fighting for our country, I’m fighting for our constitution. Our whole country is being rigged right now. This was done by the Biden administration in order to wound or hurt a political opponent and I think it is just a disgrace.

“We will keep fighting. We will fight until the end and we will win because our country has gone to hell.”

Elsewhere, the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris campaign said in a statement on Thursday: “In New York today, we saw that no one is above the law. Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain. But today’s verdict does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality. There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box. Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.

“The threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater. He is running an increasingly unhinged campaign of revenge and retribution, pledging to be a dictator ‘on day one’ and calling for our Constitution to be ‘terminated’ so he can regain and keep power. A second Trump term means chaos, ripping away Americans’ freedoms and fomenting political violence – and the American people will reject it this November.”

The defence team has until June 13th to appeal the decision and the verdict does not mean that the former president will be served with a custodial sentence. His sentencing is due to take place four days before the Republican National Convention begins in Milwaukee, in July.

On a historic day in US political and legal history, the New Yorker has distinguished himself in a way that no other president ever has – or would want to.

Keith Duggan

Keith Duggan

Keith Duggan is Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times