June 20, 2024

The presidential election has just caught fire: ANDREW NEIL’s expert instant analysis of Trump’s explosive guilty verdict – and why the real battle for the soul of America begins NOW

The presidential election has just caught FIRE: Trump verdict analysis

Whatever the justice of the jury’s decision, Trump will be pumped up as never before. So will his supporters. The presidential election of 2024 has just caught fire.

Donald Trump becomes the first ever former President of the United States to be convicted of a crime.

A unanimous New York jury found him guilty on all 34 counts of illegally trying to cover up a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to stifle a sex scandal that he feared would derail his 2016 presidential campaign only days before America went to the polls.

Paying the hush money was not in itself illegal but the prosecution successfully argued that it was designed to influence the outcome of the election — a violation of election laws and, argued the prosecutors, the underlying crime.

This is highly contentious territory — especially since the trial heard next to nothing about campaign law violations — which is why the guilty verdict will be immediately appealed. Trump’s defense lawyers have 30 days to prepare an appeal.

Guilty on 34 counts sounds worse than it is. It only refers to the number of instalments by which Trump arranged for his then lawyer and sleazy fixer, Michael Cohen, to be reimbursed for paying Daniels.

The prosecution argued convincingly that Trump and his people had covered up these repayments to hide their true purpose. But doctoring corporate book-keeping entries under New York law is only a misdemeanor or minor crime, usually involving just a slap on the wrist.

It was linking the payments to a breach of campaign finance law which elevated the matter to proper criminality. For many observers the link is highly tenuous. It was barely discussed during the trial and nobody testified that such a link even existed.

Those salivating at the prospect of Trump now doing jail time will have to be patient.

Trump will not be held in remand pending sentencing. He is hardly a flight risk. It was a white-collar crime involving someone with no previous convictions. Jail would be an unusual outcome.

But then this whole trial has been unusual.

Sentencing will not take place until July 11, when Trump could face anything from probation to four years behind bars.

But even if the judge decides on jail, the guilty verdict will be appealed and Trump will remain free until the appeal process is concluded.

This will take a long time — months, if not years — certainly long enough to leave Trump free to campaign for president all the way through to polling day in November.

He will be sentenced four days before the Republican convention opens in Milwaukee, where Trump will be crowned as the party’s presidential candidate.

By that time President Biden will have regularly referred to him as a ‘convicted felon’. That could damage him among independent voters and non-MAGA republicans. But it will make no difference to his core vote.

A short time after the verdict was delivered, the Trump campaign website went down, such was the volume of traffic trying to send donations.

Within minutes of the verdict Trump was already declaring it a ‘rigged’ trial and a ‘disgrace’. He will position himself as the victim of a political witch hunt organized by a Democratic Justice Department, a Democratic judge, a Democratic Manhattan prosecutor, and a Democratic New York jury.

There have been enough oddities about the prosecution for this to have legs.

Judge Juan Merchan, who has sole say in sentencing, was regarded by many (and not just Trump supporters) as unduly partisan, regularly overruling defense challenges and nearly always siding with the prosecution.

Trump did not help matters by regularly attacking him. Even so, Merchan’s judgments and the controversial conduct of the case will be at the core of the appeal process.

But for now, and through to election day, the law takes a back seat and politics takes over.

America will have to decide if Trump is, as his opponent and enemies will stigmatize him, a convicted criminal unfit for any public office, never mind the highest in the land. Or someone seriously traduced by a politicized legal system that undermines the credibility of America’s justice system, making it more akin to a banana republic than a mature democracy.

The Biden campaign is already saying the outcome shows nobody is above the law in America.

Trump folks will argue that the convoluted legal shenanigans required to turn a misdemeanor into a felony was especially designed for Trump and would never have been deployed against anybody else.

In the current sour mood in America, I would not rule out this rebounding to Trump’s advantage.

Whatever the justice of the jury’s decision, he will be pumped up as never before. So will his supporters. The presidential election of 2024 has just caught fire.

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Jonathan Turley Has a Lot to Say About the Trump Verdict

Jonathan Turley Has a Lot to Say About the Trump Verdict

Legal expert Jonathan Turley reacted with strong words to the guilty verdict of former President Donald Trump, who was convicted on all 34 counts at his New York hush money trial after only two days of jury deliberations spanning over nine hours.

Legal expert Jonathan Turley reacted with strong words to the guilty verdict of former President Donald Trump, who was convicted on all 34 counts at his New York hush money trial after only two days of jury deliberations spanning over nine hours.

“I obviously disagree with this verdict as do many others,” Turley tweeted, saying that he believes that the case will be reversed “eventually” either at the state or federal level. “However,” the George Washington University Law School professor added, “this was the worst expectation for a trial in Manhattan. I am saddened by the result more for the New York legal system than the former president. I had hoped that the jurors might redeem the integrity of a system that has been used for political purposes.”

Jason Howerton on X (formerly Twitter): “Jonathan Turley explains we still don’t even know what Trump has actually been found guilty of… Just amazing,pic.twitter.com/ssnBDUwlLZ / X”

Jonathan Turley explains we still don’t even know what Trump has actually been found guilty of… Just amazing,pic.twitter.com/ssnBDUwlLZ

In an appearance on Fox News, Turley described the strange circumstances surrounding the conviction’s announcement.

Turley, who was there at the time of the verdict’s reading, called it “one of the most bizarre moments” he ever experienced in the courtroom. Judge Juan Merchan had just said the jury had not yet reached a decision and that they’d be dismissed for the day.

Some reporters actually started to gather their belongings and head out, Turley recounted. Then, upon returning to the bench, Merchan said that he was mistaken, producing a note he received from the jurors announcing: “We the jury have a verdict.”

“Throughout this time, you can feel the building pressure in that courtroom. The one person that didn’t seem to register it was the former president…” Turley recalled, adding, “[Trump] didn’t show any emotion at all as this mantra of guilty verdicts was read.”

“I think that this is one of those things that really embodies the entire Trump era. There were people who clearly were thrilled by the result, and there were people who were saddened by it. I was saddened by it. I disagree with this verdict,” Turley reiterated.

“I think, as I said before, that this case was legally unfounded. When they were reading those guilty verdicts, the one thing that we didn’t know is really what he was found guilty of. Because if you remember, the judge allowed the jury to find guilt on any one of the three secondary crimes,” Turley said. That meant the jury didn’t have to determine exactly what crime was committed.

“We weren’t told whether the jury found any one of those crimes, whether they found all three of those crimes. I’m not too sure we will know that. That’s one of the many issues that I think presents reversible problems in this case,” Turley assessed.

Other legal analysts weighed in as well, including Townhall columnist Phil Holloway, who said Trump is now “at the whim and mercy” of Merchan, particularly whatever restraints he’ll place on the former president’s freedom, if he lets him remain free.

“He can send him to jail. He can put him on house arrest. He can give him probation. He can just make him pay a fine. Or he can do nothing. But he is itching to humiliate Trump, so he will find a way,” Holloway remarked on X’s platform, formerly Twitter.

Merchan did ask about the bail status, and the prosecution said there’s no bail.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 11, four days out from the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where Trump will be selected as the party’s nominee. Nothing in the Constitution currently precludes Trump from running for president in November.

Trump is expected to appeal immediately, though the appeals process typically takes years.

“This gonna go up on appeal,” Turley predicted.

“For those upset by this verdict, remember this remains a country committed to the rule of law […] You have to take a leap of faith in the rule of law,” Turley said. “That’s what defines us. Many people feel that this case really embodied the antithesis of that.”

“But as a country as a whole, we have a system in place to review this. For Donald Trump, that’s not gonna happen before the election in all likelihood. But let’s keep in mind that this is not the only court. It’s just the first one,” Turley concluded.

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Jeanine Pirro on X (formerly Twitter): “America has gone over a cliff. To convict a former president of crimes that are not even specified in the indictment and for which the president was not allowed to defend himself, is a sad day for this great country. November 5th cannot come soon enough. pic.twitter.com/JYMYpzIPrh / X”

America has gone over a cliff. To convict a former president of crimes that are not even specified in the indictment and for which the president was not allowed to defend himself, is a sad day for this great country. November 5th cannot come soon enough. pic.twitter.com/JYMYpzIPrh


Byron Donalds on X (formerly Twitter): “New Yorkers are being robbed, assaulted & killed because of DA Bragg’s refusal to prosecute violent crime.Instead he focuses-on a blatantly political prosecution of Trump.Biden can’t beat Trump in a fair political fight so radical Democrats are weaponizing our justice system. pic.twitter.com/YhVtb7bA3a / X”

New Yorkers are being robbed, assaulted & killed because of DA Bragg’s refusal to prosecute violent crime.Instead he focuses-on a blatantly political prosecution of Trump.Biden can’t beat Trump in a fair political fight so radical Democrats are weaponizing our justice system. pic.twitter.com/YhVtb7bA3a


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