Donald Trump Found Guilty on All Counts in Hush-Money Trial

The historic verdict makes him the first ex-president ever convicted of a crime.

Donald Trump is centered in a red lens flare as he stands next to one of his attorneys, Todd Blanche. Trump addresses reporters outside of Manhattan criminal court.

Yuki Iwamura/Pool/Getty

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

A jury of Donald Trump’s peers has found him guilty on all 34 felony counts related to his 2016 hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels. The historic verdict, announced Thursday afternoon, followed a six-week criminal trial—the first ever for a former US president.

All of the charges were for the falsification of business records, which stemmed from the payment orchestrated by Trump—with the help of his former fixer and attorney Michael Cohen—to suppress stories about alleged extra-marital affairs Trump had in the years before he ran for president. (Trump has denied the affairs.) Cohen and Daniels, an adult film star who received $130,000 as part of an agreement not to share details of an alleged 2007 sexual encounter with Trump, were the prosecution’s star witnesses.

In a post on Truth Social, Trump raged against the verdict.

“THIS WAS A DISGRACE—A RIGGED TRIAL BY A CONFLICTED JUDGE WHO IS CORRUPT,” Trump posted. “WE WILL FIGHT FOR OUR CONSTITUTION—THIS IS LONG FROM OVER.”

Prosecutors made the case to jurors that Trump lied on various business records about what the payments were for. Although the falsifying of business records is typically a misdemeanor under New York state law—and, as such, would have fallen outside the statute of limitations—prosecutors were able to elevate the charges to felonies on the theory that they were committed as part of a scheme to violate state and federal election law, because the payments were made to protect Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and therefore constituted illegal campaign contributions.

“This scheme, cooked up by these men, at this time, could very well be what got President Trump elected,” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told jurors during closing arguments. Steinglass argued that the prosecution didn’t need to prove that the secret payments—or what he called “this effort to hoodwink the American voters”did sway the election for Trump, only that it was the purpose of the coverup.

The trial’s conclusion is far from the end of the case. Trump will be sentenced on July 11 at 10:00 a.m.

Moreover, Trump has already said he will appeal, and the case may not be resolved for years—especially if Trump is once again elected president and proceedings become frozen during his second term in office. Among other things, Trump’s appeals will likely focus on whether the allegations truly constituted violations of the law and whether prosecutors were justified in charging them as felonies.

Throughout the trial and in closing, Trump’s attorneys had argued that there was no crime—just payments that were totally legal. Trump paid off Daniels and the others to protect his family from untrue stories, his team argued, and Cohen and Daniels were just greedy opportunists. A significant part of the defense’s closing was spent on denigrating Cohen, who openly admitted on the stand that he had previously been dishonest. Much of that dishonesty had been in the service of Trump, who Cohen said he once deeply admired.

As the state presented its case, prosecutors repeatedly probed how other witnesses felt about Cohen, and almost universally, they spoke of him with disdain. When Cohen himself took the stand, a significant portion of his testimony was focused on his own faults—though unlike at Trump’s civil fraud trial last fall, Cohen managed to contain his own temper. It was all a strategy by prosecutors to head off the Trump team’s arguments that Cohen was not a credible witness. As Steinglass said during his closing on Monday, as unlikable as Cohen might be, it was Cohen’s own past dishonesty that made him the perfect person to talk about Trump’s misdeeds.

“We didn’t choose Michael Cohen to be our witness. We didn’t pick him up at the witness store,” Steinglass told jurors. “The defendant chose Michael Cohen to be his fixer because he was willing to lie and cheat on Mr. Trump’s behalf.”

Trump needed just one juror out of 12 to side with him and cause a mistrial—convictions require the jury to be unanimous in its decision. He wasn’t able to convince any of them.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $200,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, this week so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate