Donald Trump guilty on all counts in hush money case

The 12-person jury in New York reached a verdict in Donald Trump's hush money trial after 9.5 hours of deliberations

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Former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all counts Thursday in connection with a hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The 12-person jury in New York reached its verdict after 9.5 hours of deliberations. Trump is expected to quickly appeal the verdict and will face an awkward dynamic as he seeks to return to the campaign trail after being found guilty. There are no campaign rallies on the calendar for now, though he’s expected to hold fundraisers next week.

Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw the case, set sentencing for July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

Trump had pleaded not guilty to the 34 counts, marking the first time a former president has had to plead to criminal charges. The felony charges alleged Trump had falsified Trump Organization business records in order to cover up payments meant to suppress information about a 2006 sexual encounter with Daniels that could have negatively impacted his run for the presidency.

Over 16 days of testimony, 22 witnesses took the stand in the Manhattan courtroom including Daniels herself, former Trump staffer Hope Hicks and former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker. Trump’s former lawyer and fixer-turned-foe Michael Cohen took the stand and provided key details as to the former president’s role in paying Daniels $130,000 to keep her story out of the tabloids.

The criminal case was the first of four brought against Trump in four different jurisdictions and the only one definitively set to go to trial before the 2024 election.

“I did my job,” District Attorney Alvin Bragg told reporters after the verdict. "Our job is to follow the facts and the law without fear or favor, and that’s exactly what we did here.”

The falsifying business records charges carry up to four years behind bars, though prosecutors have not said whether they intend to seek imprisonment, and it is not clear whether the judge — who earlier in the trial warned of jail time for gag order violations — would impose that punishment even if asked. The conviction, and even imprisonment, will not bar Trump from continuing his pursuit of the White House.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said he did his job, which he described as "following the facts and the law without fear or favor."

After the verdict, Trump said: "The real verdict is going to be November 5th by the people. They know what happened here, everyone knows what happened here... I'm a very innocent man."

Both campaigns quickly sent out reactions to the verdict, with Trump's sending out a fundraising pitch and Biden's declaring “no one is above the law.”

Now that the historic first-ever criminal trial of a former U.S. president has ended, here’s a look at some of the key players.

DEFENDANT: Donald J. Trump

The former president of the United States and the presumptive 2024 Republican nominee parlayed his success as a reality television star and celebrity businessman to win the 2016 presidential election, becoming America’s 45th president.

The hush money trial involved allegations that he falsified his company’s records to hide the true nature of payments to his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who helped bury negative stories about him during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Who's who in the Trump hush money trial

Key players in the historic first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

Source: AP

WITNESSES: Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, David Pecker, Hope Hicks

MICHAEL COHEN: Trump’s former lawyer and fixer. He was once a fierce Trump ally, but took the stand as a key prosecution witness, testifying against his former boss. Cohen worked for the Trump Organization from 2006 to 2017. He later went to federal prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations relating to the hush money arrangements and unrelated crimes.

STORMY DANIELS: The porn actor who received a $130,000 payment from Cohen as part of his hush-money efforts. Daniels testified that Cohen paid her to keep quiet about a sexual encounter she had with a married Trump in 2006 after the two met at a golf charity event. Trump denies having sex with Daniels.

DAVID PECKER: The National Enquirer’s former publisher and a longtime Trump friend, Pecker laid out in detail the various “catch-and-kill” schemes he engaged in to help keep harmful headlines about his friend Trump out of the tabloids. Prosecutors said he met with Trump and Cohen at Trump Tower in August 2015 and agreed to help Trump’s campaign identify potential negative stories about him.

HOPE HICKS: Trump’s former White House communications director, who testified she spoke with Trump by phone during a frenzied effort to keep allegations of his marital infidelity out of the press after the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape leaked weeks before the 2016 election. In the tape, from 2005, Trump boasted about grabbing women without permission.

Donald Trump's fixer-turned-foe, Michael Cohen, directly implicated the former president in a hush money scheme Monday, telling jurors that his celebrity client tasked him on several occasions to stifle stories about sex that he feared could torpedo his 2016 presidential campaign. NBC New York's Chris Glorioso reports.

PROSECUTORS: Alvin Bragg, Matthew Colangelo, Joshua Steinglass, Susan Hoffinger

DISTRICT ATTORNEY ALVIN BRAGG: A former civil rights lawyer and law professor, Bragg is a Democrat in his first term as Manhattan’s district attorney. He inherited the Trump investigation when he took office in 2021. He oversaw the prosecution of Trump’s company in an unrelated tax fraud case before moving to indict Trump last year.

MATTHEW COLANGELO: A former high-ranking Justice Department official who was hired by Bragg in 2022 to lead the Trump investigation. They previously worked together on Trump-related matters at the New York attorney general’s office.

JOSHUA STEINGLASS: A Manhattan prosecutor for more than 25 years, he has worked on some of the office’s more high-profile cases, including the Trump Organization’s tax fraud conviction in 2022 and cases involving violent crimes.

SUSAN HOFFINGER: The chief of the district attorney’s Investigation Division, she returned to the office in 2022 after more than 20 years in private practice. She worked with Steinglass on the Trump Organization tax fraud prosecution.

The defense is now calling its own witnesses in the Trump hush money trial, after another day of grilling Michael Cohen — who is now admitting to stealing from his former boss. Trump's lead defense attorney got Cohen to admit, on the stand, that he stole thousands of dollars from the Trump Organization, money he also admitted never paying back. NBC New Year's Chris Glorioso reports. 

TRUMP’S ATTORNEYS: Todd Blanche, Susan Necheles, Emil Bove

TODD BLANCHE: A former federal prosecutor, Blanche previously represented Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, in a mortgage fraud case — and got it thrown out. Blanche successfully argued that the case, brought by the same prosecutor’s office now taking on Trump, was too similar to one that landed Manafort in federal prison and therefore amounted to double jeopardy.

SUSAN NECHELES: A former Brooklyn prosecutor, Necheles is a respected New York City defense lawyer who represented Trump’s company at its tax fraud trial last year. In the past she served as counsel to the late Genovese crime family underboss Venero Mangano, known as Benny Eggs, and defended John Gotti’s lawyer, Bruce Cutler, in the early '90s.

EMIL BOVE: A star college lacrosse player, Bove was a veteran federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. He was involved in multiple high-profile prosecutions, including a drug-trafficking case against the former Honduran president’s brother, a man who set off a pressure cooker device in Manhattan, and a man who sent dozens of mail bombs to prominent targets across the country.

After weeks of testimony and close to two dozen witnesses, the fate of former President Donald Trump is now in the hands of the jury — but not until they take a week-long break from the trial. After the defense rested its case Tuesday morning, the judge sent jurors home until after Memorial Day. NBC New York's Chris Glorioso reports.

Judge Juan M. Merchan

The judge presiding over the case. He was also the judge in the Trump Organization’s tax fraud trial in 2022 and is overseeing a border wall fraud case against longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon. Merchan twice denied requests by Trump’s lawyers that he step aside from the case. They contended he was biased because his daughter runs a political consulting firm that has worked for Democrats, including President Joe Biden. Merchan said he was certain of his “ability to be fair and impartial.”

Judge Juan Merchan ruled that former President Donald Trump had violated the court’s gag order for comments about the jury in his New York criminal case.
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