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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Uncertainties, As Trump Becomes First Ex-US President to Be Convicted of Felony, May Contest Next Election from Prison


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The immediate-past US President, Donald Trump, on Thursday, made a new history, as he became the first former American president to be convicted of felony crimes in the history of the country.

This is coming as a New York jury found him guilty of all 34 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.

According to information gathered by this reporter, Trump sat stone-faced while the verdict was read as cheering from the street below could be heard in the hallway on the courthouse’s 15th floor where the decision was revealed after more than nine hours of deliberations.

By this conviction, Trump has also become the first major-party presidential nominee to be convicted of a crime in the midst of a campaign for the White House, even as the country warms up for general election.

Reports have it that the former President is set to be sentenced on 11 July, just 4 days before the start of the Republican National Convention on 15 July where he (Trump) is expected to be formally nominated for President. There are, however, uncertainties, as to whether he will still be nominated or dumped by the Republicans in their choice of a flagbearer come July 15.

He faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, though others convicted of the same crime often receive shorter sentences, fines or probation.

And if he gets nominated, and defeats President Joe Biden in the much-anticipated November election, he will be the first sitting president in history to be a convicted felon.

Unarguably, this trial and the verdict are a stunning legal reckoning for Trump and exposes him to potential prison time in the city where his manipulations of the tabloid press helped catapult him from a real estate tycoon to reality television star and ultimately president. As he seeks to reclaim the White House in this year’s election, the judgment presents voters with another test of their willingness to accept his boundary-breaking behavior.

Addressing newsmen outside the court shortly after his conviction, Trump said the conviction was a “disgrace” and that he is “a very innocent man”.

According to him, the trial was “rigged” and the judge was “conflicted” and “should never have been allowed to try this case”.

“This is long from over,” he added.

It was also gathered that the former President, after the conviction, travelled in a convoy of black jeeps to dinner in New York City.

Reacting to the development, Michael Tyler, a spokesperson for Joe Biden (Trump’s potential opponent in the forthcoming general election) said no one is above the law.

Tyler, the Biden-Harris Campaign’s Communications Director, said in a statement: “Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain.

“The threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater. He is running an increasingly unhinged campaign of revenge and retribution, pledging to be a dictator ‘on day one’ and calling for our Constitution to be ‘terminated’ so he can regain and keep power.”

Continuing, he said: “A second Trump term means chaos, ripping away Americans’ freedoms and fomenting political violence – and the American people will reject it this November.”

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