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Politics

Following His Conviction in Hush Money Case, Trump Speaks at News Conference (Video)

NEW YORK (AP) — A day after a New York jury delivered a historic guilty verdict in Donald Trump’s criminal hush money trial, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee held a news conference Friday where he spoke publicly about the conviction and his White House bid.

Following his conviction on Thursday, Trump angrily denounced the trial as a “disgrace,” telling reporters he was an “innocent man.”

His supporters were quick to echo those sentiments while many of his critics — political and otherwise — applauded the verdict.

Trump was convicted of 34 felony charges in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through a hush money payment to a porn actor who said the two had sex. The hush money trial and subsequent conviction mark the first time a former U.S. president has ever been tried or convicted in a criminal case.

He still faces three other felony indictments, but the New York case was the first to reach trial and likely the only one ahead of the November election.

Judge Juan M. Merchan scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The charges are punishable by up to four years in prison, though the punishment would ultimately be up to Merchan. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg declined to say whether prosecutors would seek prison time.

Currently:

— What to know about the guilty verdict in Trump’s hush money trial

— Photos: A visual look at the past seven weeks at Donald Trump’s hush money trial

— How Trump’s conviction affects the 2024 presidential race

— Trump could still vote for himself if he’s not in prison on Election Day

— Trump investigations: The status of the cases brought against him

 

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at Trump Tower, Friday, May 31, 2024, in New York. A day after a New York jury found Donald Trump guilty of 34 felony charges, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee addressed the conviction and likely attempt to cast his campaign in a new light. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Here’s the latest:

TRUMP’S NEWS CONFERENCE BEGINS
At the outset of a news conference held at Trump Tower on Friday morning, Donald Trump complained about his criminal trial and subsequent conviction.

“If they can do this to me they can do this to anyone,” he as he took to the podium.

He had notes with him, two pages written in black sharpie.

TRUMP MEDIA SHARES SWING WILDLY AND THEN TUMBLE
Shares of Trump Media & Technology Group swung wildly at the opening bell Friday, falling rapidly after it appeared that the owner of social networking site Truth Social would bounce back despite Donald Trump’s hush money conviction a day before.

After rising more than 2% at the opening of trade, shares slid 7% — about the levels they were trading at immediately after the conviction was announced during off-hours trading Thursday evening.

TRUMP STILL FACES 3 MORE FELONY INDICTMENTS
Donald Trump’s hush money case, though criticized by some legal experts who called it the weakest of the four prosecutions against him, takes on added importance not only because it proceeded to trial first but also because it could be the only one to reach a jury before the election.

The other three — local and federal cases in Atlanta and Washington that accuse him of conspiring to undo the 2020 election, as well as a federal indictment in Florida charging him with illegally hoarding top-secret records — are bogged down by delays or appeals.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at Trump Tower, Friday, May 31, 2024, in New York. A day after a New York jury found Donald Trump guilty of 34 felony charges, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee addressed the conviction and likely attempt to cast his campaign in a new light. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

UPSIDE-DOWN FLAGS
Donald Trump supporters and right-wing pundits have flown and shared images of upside-down flags in protest of the former president’s conviction. At least one was spotted outside Trump Tower in Manhattan Friday morning and elected officials including Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene shared the image online Thursday.

The symbol, once a signal of distress for sailors, has come to represent the “Stop the Steal” movement, which falsely claimed the 2020 presidential election was stolen. The symbol was also spotted outside Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s home in Virginia, though Alito said it pertained to a dispute between his wife and his neighbors.

Other incendiary rhetoric on social media referred to the verdict as a declaration of “war” or a sign of the coming of a “civil war.” The words “RIP America” trended on X, formerly known as Twitter, immediately after the verdict.

TRUMP RAISES $34.8 MILLION FOLLOWING CONVICTION
Donald Trump’s campaign said it has raised a record $34.8 million in small-dollar online contributions off his hush money conviction — nearly double its previous largest haul.

“From just minutes after the sham trial verdict was announced, our digital fundraising system was overwhelmed with support, and despite temporary delays online because of the amount of traffic, President Trump raised $34.8 million dollars from small dollar donors,” said Trump campaign senior advisers Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles in a statement.

Fundraising emails have employed stark language, including “I am a Political Prisoner” and “JUSTICE IS DEAD IN AMERICA!”

The campaign advisors said nearly 30% of Thursday’s donors were new to the fundraising platform.

THE SCENE FROM TRUMP TOWER
Dozens of reporters and TV news crews are huddled in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan ahead of the former president’s planned postconviction remarks at 11 a.m.

It’s the same very 1980s brass-and-rose marble lobby where Donald Trump descended his golden escalator to announce his 2016 campaign nine years ago next month.

Five American flags have been set behind a small lectern where he’ll speak.

TRUMP’S CONVICTION AND ITS IMPACT ON THE 2024 ELECTION
Donald Trump’s conviction in his New York hush money trial is a stunning development in an already unorthodox presidential election with profound implications for the justice system and perhaps U.S. democracy itself.

But in a deeply divided America, it’s unclear whether Trump’s status as someone with a felony conviction will have any impact at all on the 2024 election.

Trump remains in a competitive position against President Joe Biden this fall, even as the Republican former president now faces the prospect of a prison sentence in the run-up to the November election.

In the short term at least, there were immediate signs that the unanimous guilty verdict was helping to unify the Republican Party’s disparate factions as GOP officials in Congress and state capitals across the country rallied behind their presumptive presidential nominee, while his campaign expected to benefit from a flood of new fundraising dollars.

REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS RALLIED TO TRUMP’S DEFENSE
Several Republican lawmakers reacted with fury to Donald Trump’s felony conviction on Thursday and rushed to his defense — questioning the legitimacy of the trial and how it was conducted.

House Speaker Mike Johnson said it was a “shameful day in American history” and labeled the charges as “purely political.”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been one of Trump’s most frequent allies, said, “This verdict says more about the system than the allegations.”

And while Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell refrained from attacking the judge or jury, he said the charges “never should have been brought in the first place.”

Many GOP lawmakers, including Johnson, visited the courthouse in New York to support Trump during his criminal trial.

UNLESS HE’S SENT TO PRISON, TRUMP CAN STILL VOTE
Donald Trump may have been convicted of a felony and reside in Florida, a state notorious for restricting the voting rights of felons, but he can still vote as long as he stays out of prison in New York state.

That’s because Florida defers to other states’ disenfranchisement rules for residents convicted of out-of-state felonies. In Trump’s case, New York law only removes their right to vote when incarcerated. Once they’re out of prison, their rights are automatically restored — even if they’re on parole, per a 2021 law passed by the state’s Democratic legislature.

“If a Floridian’s voting rights are restored in the state of conviction, they are restored under Florida law,” Blair Bowie of the Campaign Legal Center wrote in a post explaining the state of law, noting that people without Trump’s legal resources are often confused by Florida’s complex rules.

THE FIGHT IS FAR FROM OVER
Donald Trump’s conviction Thursday on 34 felony counts marked the end of the former president’s historic hush money trial.

Now comes the sentencing and the prospect of a prison sentence. A lengthy appellate process could follow, especially as Trump’s legal team has already been laying the groundwork for an appeal.

And all the while, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee still faces three more criminal cases and a campaign that could see him return to the White House.

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