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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff Writer with Agencies

New York – In a historic verdict, Donald Trump has been found guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election. This marks the first time a former U.S. president has been convicted of a crime.

The 12-person jury delivered their unanimous decision on Friday morning (AEDT) after nearly two days of deliberation. The verdict was announced in a New York courtroom, where Trump reportedly remained motionless, staring straight ahead as each count of guilt was read aloud.

Following the verdict, Trump addressed the media outside the courtroom, vehemently denouncing the trial as “rigged” and the judge as “corrupt.” He stated, “This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt. It’s a rigged trial. A disgrace.”

Trump continued to assert his innocence, saying, “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.”

He also framed the trial as a politically motivated attack orchestrated by the Biden administration. “This was done by the Biden administration 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 anymore.”

Despite the guilty verdict, Trump’s conviction does not prevent him from campaigning for the presidency or taking office if he wins the election. However, the outcome could significantly impact his campaign to recapture the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 election.

Earlier, jurors had asked Justice Juan Merchan to reiterate the detailed instructions for their deliberations. The charges stem from allegations that Trump falsified business records to cover up a $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels during the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Star witness Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, testified that he made the payment to Daniels to prevent her from disclosing an alleged 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. Cohen claimed that Trump had discussed a plan to reimburse him through monthly payments disguised as legal fees, which led to the falsification charges. Trump denies any sexual encounter with Daniels.

Jurors had also requested testimony from David Pecker, former publisher of the National Enquirer, who testified that he collaborated with Trump to suppress damaging stories during the campaign.

Trump’s defense team challenged Cohen’s credibility, highlighting his criminal record and history of lying. Justice Merchan reminded jurors to scrutinize Cohen’s testimony, given his role as an accomplice.

Prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office argued that emails and other evidence supported Cohen’s testimony, emphasizing the need to prove Trump’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Polls show a tight race between Trump and Biden, but a Reuters/Ipsos poll indicated that a guilty verdict could erode Trump’s support. If convicted, Trump faces up to four years in prison, though similar cases often result in fines or probation.

Trump is also facing three other criminal prosecutions, but these are not expected to go to trial before the November election. He has pleaded not guilty in all cases.

The verdict represents a pivotal moment in American legal and political history, with potential ramifications for the upcoming presidential election and beyond.

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