Donald Trump

Former US President – and current election hopeful – Donald Trump has been found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records, in a landmark jury decision that could play an important role in the upcoming US presidential election.

This marks the conclusion – for now – of the first criminal trial against a US President.

Prosecutors convinced the 12 New York jurors that payments amounting to $130,000 made by Mr Trump to his former lawyer Michael Cohen were reimbursements for money the lawyer had passed on to the adult film star Stormy Daniels in return for her silence about her affair with the business tycoon.

Mr Trump falsely listed these payments as “legal expenses”.

The prosecution alleged that this falsification was meant to cover up Mr Trump’s violation of New York state law, in which promoting the election of any person through unlawful means is a crime.

It further argued that the payment was effectively an illegal campaign contribution, since it was done to benefit his 2016 election campaign.

The news of the verdict was welcomed by Ms Daniels and Mr Cohen, but drew furious reactions from the Republican Party and the Mr Trump himself, who called it “a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt.”

He added that he now intends to appeal the decision, which could add years to the case.

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