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Trump blasts ‘rigged, disgraceful’ trial after jury finds him guilty

Former president Donald Trump on Thursday railed against a “rigged, disgraceful trial” after a jury found him guilty on all 34 counts in his hush money trial in New York.

“The real verdict is going to be November 5th by the people,” Trump said, speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, “and they know what happened here, and everybody knows what happened here.”

Trump insisted he did nothing wrong, calling himself a “very innocent man.”

Trump’s sentencing was set for July 11, four days before the Republican National Convention is scheduled to begin in Milwaukee. Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee against President Biden in November’s rematch of the 2020 presidential election.

The Biden campaign said the verdict showed that “no one is above the law” and reminded voters there is “still only one way to keep [Trump] out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box.”

“Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president,” Biden campaign spokesman Michael Tyler said in a statement.

The White House was more restrained. A spokesperson for the counsel’s office, Ian Sams, said in a one-sentence statement, “We respect the rule of law, and have no additional comment.”

Trump is expected to say more about the verdict Friday morning, when he has scheduled a news conference at Trump Tower in New York.

Before speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Trump sat in court and frowned as he looked at the jurors while they each confirmed that they agreed with the verdict. He adjusted his tie and stood as they filed out. Trump and the jurors averted their gazes from one another.

Even before Trump addressed reporters, he took to his Truth Social platform to share a campaign fundraising appeal based on the verdict. A graphic depicted Trump as saying, “I AM A POLITICAL PRISONER!”

The news of the verdict apparently overwhelmed the GOP fundraising platform WinRed. In posts on X, the Trump campaign indicated the website was down for at least a half-hour.

A WinRed representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In his remarks to reporters, Trump also attacked New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, calling him “conflicted,” and criticized Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as a “Soros-backed DA.” That was a reference to the liberal billionaire George Soros, who has not directly funded Bragg but contributed to a group that supported him and other liberal candidates running to be prosecutors.

Top Republicans responded swiftly — and fiercely — to the verdict.

“Today is a shameful day in American history,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said in a statement. “Democrats cheered as they convicted the leader of the opposing party on ridiculous charges, predicated on the testimony of a disbarred, convicted felon. This was a purely political exercise, not a legal one.”

Johnson and other GOP lawmakers expressed confidence that the verdict would be reversed on appeal. Trump did not immediately address an appeal but ended his comments to reporters by saying, “This is long from over.”

One of Trump’s top allies in Congress, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), posted on X an image of an upside-down flag, which has long been a sign of distress in the military. It has also been used by supporters of the “Stop the Steal” movement, which espoused Trump’s false claims that Biden stole the 2020 election.

Another Trump ally in Congress, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said in a statement that the trial was a “mockery of justice” and predicted it would “backfire tremendously on the political Left.”

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made a similar prediction on social media. Kennedy, while also criticizing Trump’s record as president, wrote that Democrats are “afraid they will lose in the voting booth, so instead they go after President Trump in the courtroom.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has had a rocky relationship with Trump but has endorsed him for president, was slower among prominent Republicans to respond to the verdict.

“These charges never should have been brought in the first place. I expect the conviction to be overturned on appeal,” McConnell said on X, over three hours after the verdict.

Most Republicans in battleground Senate races also decried the verdict and, in some cases, sought to tie their Democratic opponents to it. One outlier was Larry Hogan, the GOP Senate nominee in Maryland, who released a statement ahead of the verdict that urged “all Americans to respect the verdict and the legal process.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm for House Democrats, released a list of vulnerable GOP members who have endorsed Trump, saying they were supporting a “now-convicted criminal.”

“House Republicans have continued to put Donald Trump first and the American people last,” DCCC spokesperson Courtney Rice said in a statement. “Their districts deserve better than their cult-like adherence to a wannabe dictator.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), asked for the public to respect the verdict in a post on X, where he wrote: “America is a nation built upon the rule of law. The jury has spoken and carefully rendered a decision. Responsible leadership requires the verdict to be respected.”

The immediate reaction among some Republicans was unfiltered. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. quickly responded to the verdict on social media, calling it “such bulls—.”

“Guilty on all counts,” Trump Jr. said on X. “The Democrats have succeeded in their years long attempt to turn America into a third-world s—hole. November 5 is our last chance to save it.”

Speaking on the Rumble video platform after the verdict came down, Trump Jr. said he spoke with his father after the former president was convicted and said his father was “somber, but I think … his resolve has frankly increased.”

Trump, who was required to remain inside the courthouse throughout jury deliberations, spent the two-day period railing against the case on social media.

“MY CIVIL RIGHTS HAVE BEEN TOTALLY VIOLATED WITH THIS HIGHLY POLITICAL, UNCONSTITUTIONAL, AND ELECTION INTERFERING WITCH HUNT,” Trump said in one of his last posts on his Truth Social network before the verdict was announced. “OUR FAILING NATION IS BEING LAUGHED AT ALL OVER THE WORLD!”

Jurors entered deliberations Wednesday morning after hearing lengthy closing arguments Tuesday in a trial that began April 15.

Trump faced 34 felony criminal charges of falsifying business records to cover up payments before the 2016 election over an alleged affair with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.

It was the first of four criminal trials Trump faces as he makes another bid for the White House. Two of the cases center on his efforts to overturn his 2020 reelection loss.

Isaac Arnsdorf contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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