Trump was found guilty in his 'hush money' trial. Here you can read what you need to know about the verdict and the case.

Former President Donald Trump was found guilty of 34 offences of falsifying company records by a New York jury on Thursday, ending a landmark trial stemming from a “hush money” payment to an adult film star before the 2016 election.

The trial lasted about six weeks and the jury deliberated for two days before returning a verdict. Trump canceled the decision as “rigged” and vowed to fight the conviction. His conviction is scheduled for July 11.

Here are the basics of the charges, what happened during the trial, and what comes next:

What were the charges?

Former President Donald Trump sits with his defense team at the defense table in a Manhattan courtroom on April 4, 2023, in New York City, his first appearance after being charged with 34 crimes.
Former President Donald Trump sits with his legal team at the defense table in a Manhattan courtroom on April 4, 2023, his first appearance after being charged with 34 crimes.

Seth Wenig/Getty Images


Trump was indicted on March 30, 2023, and charged with 34 state charges of falsifying business records in the first degree, a felony in New York.

What was the verdict?

Trump was found guilty of all charges on May 30, 2024. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in the Manhattan courtroom, where the trial lasted six weeks.

What did it take for the jury to convict?

Judge Juan Merchan instructed jurors before they began deliberating that in order to find Trump guilty of falsifying business documents in the first degree, they had to unanimously conclude that not only did he cause the documents to be falsified, but that he “conspired to to promote or prevent anyone'. a public office unlawfully.”

There were a number of types of “unlawful means” that the jury heard evidence about, including: falsification of other corporate records, violations of campaign finance laws, and violations of tax laws.

What exactly did prosecutors say Trump did?

Prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office said Trump had met with the former publisher of the National Enquirer David Pecker and ex-fixer Michael Cohen at his Trump Tower in August 2015, and that the trio hatched a conspiracy to identify, buy and destroy stories that could damage Trump's reputation and the presidential campaign.

Just days before the 2016 election, Cohen paid $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Danielswho claimed she had sex with Trump in 2006. She agreed to keep her story secret in exchange for the money.

After Trump became president, Cohen received $35,000 a month for a year in a series of checks, most of which were signed by Trump. Prosecutors said the checks and associated business records were illegally portrayed as payments to Cohen for his legal work, when in fact they were intended to reimburse him for the Daniels deal, among other things.

What did Trump's lawyers say?

Attorney Emil Bove questions David Pecker during former President Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York on Friday, April 26, 2024.
Attorney Emil Bove questions David Pecker during former President Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York on Friday, April 26, 2024.

Jane Rosenberg


Trump's lawyers said the agreement with Pecker and the National Enquirer was not atypical for political campaigns, which often try to influence media stories about candidates. They said non-disclosure agreements, like the one Cohen signed with Daniels, are also common.

As for the checks to Cohen, Trump's lawyers noted that Cohen's title at the time was “personal attorney to the president,” and that he was actually being paid for ongoing legal work. They said Cohen and Trump had a verbal retainer agreement but did not sign one.

What about Trump himself?

Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied any wrongdoing. He accused Bragg, a Democrat, of pursuing the case for political gain. Trump has called the case a “scam” and said the charges were “forged” after the verdict was handed down.

Who were the main players?

Trump, Cohen and Pecker received top billing during the trial. Pecker was the first to be called to the stand by prosecutors and described the Trump Tower meeting in August 2015, as well as years of communications with Cohen and Trump about the plan.

His testimony corroborated key moments by Cohen, whose credibility the defense repeatedly tried to undermine. Pecker's time on the stand led to weeks of testimony from eighteen others for Cohen, their last witness. Prosecutors tried to use those weeks to bolster Cohen's story with corroborating evidence.

During the first day of their deliberation, the jury asked to hear portions of Pecker and Cohen's testimony related to the Trump Tower meeting.

What did Cohen say?

Cohen said Trump received regular updates about efforts to cover up salacious stories about him when he was running for president in 2016, and that he personally signed off on the scheme to falsify data related to it.

Cohen recounted three examples in which he, Pecker and the editor of the National Enquirer worked to secure rights to stories containing salacious claims about Trump.

The jury heard a secret recording Cohen made of a conversation with Trump, in which Trump appeared comfortable purchasing a story told by another woman named Karen McDougal.

'So, what do we have to pay for this? 150?' On the tape you can hear Trump say.

Not long after the Enquirer paid for McDougal's story, Daniels' story hit the market. Her attorney approached The Enquirer about selling the rights a day after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape in October 2016. On the recording, Trump was heard saying he could “seize the rights.” [women] by the p****” and “let them do anything.” The tape posed a major threat to his electoral prospects.

Cohen recounted intense negotiations in which everyone involved — Trump, Cohen, Daniels, her lawyer and the Enquirer editor — were aware that Daniels' claim about a sexual encounter with Trump could have serious consequences for his campaign.

Cohen wired Daniels' attorney $130,000 of his own money on October 28, 2016.

During his testimony, Cohen described how working for Trump for a decade was an “amazing” experience that turned sour after the “hush money” payment to Daniels became public in 2018.

He testified that he believed he was subject to a “pressure campaign” by Trump and his allies after the FBI raided his home and office that year, leading to a pair of guilty pleas on federal charges.

Under scathing cross-examination by attorney Todd Blanche, Cohen acknowledged that he has since made a living by loudly criticizing Trump.

He admitted that he wanted to see Trump imprisoned, and said so on his podcast.

Cohen also admitted to lying under oath several times and, in a shocking moment, admitted for the first time that he had stolen tens of thousands of dollars from the Trump Organization.

What did Daniels say on the witness stand?

Stormy Daniels testifies during former President Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York on May 7, 2024.
Stormy Daniels testifies during former President Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York on May 7, 2024.

Christine Cornell


Daniels was not part of the plan to influence the election. She never worked for Trump and was not involved in the crimes alleged in the case.

Yet her story about having sex with Trump in 2006 was the catalyst that set off a series of events that led to this unprecedented criminal trial. Prosecutors said yes called to the stands because Blanche denied in his opening statement that they ever had sex, a claim they felt they had to refute.

Daniels said she met Trump at a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada and was later invited by Trump's bodyguard to dinner with the famous businessman. She said they met in a hotel suite that she described in detail, down to the tiles, and that she was expecting to have dinner when they started talking business instead.

Daniels said Trump showed a keen interest in her industry and seemed to appreciate her insights. After about two hours of talking, with no food in sight, she excused herself to go to the bathroom. She recalled being surprised when she came out and saw that Trump had stripped down to a T-shirt and boxer shorts. She described the sex that followed as, on her part, coy.

This part of her testimony caused the defense to demand a mistrial, a motion that was denied.

Daniels then described frequent interactions with Trump over the next year — including a brief meeting with him at Trump Tower — as he vowed to advocate for her to land a spot on his reality TV competition. When he told her it wouldn't happen, they stopped communicating.

She later began purchasing her story through a representative, attempting to sell the rights to it. As Trump's presidential candidacy gained momentum in 2016, those efforts also heated up. They reached fever pitch in October of that year, when the release of “Access Hollywood” surfaced.

Daniels said she realized her story was potentially more valuable because it could be bad for his campaign. Cohen testified to frantic efforts to purchase it.

What comes next?

Trump's conviction kicks off the sentencing portion of the case. Merchan, the judge, set July 11 as the date for Trump's sentencing hearing. He asked the defense to submit any requests by June 13, and said prosecutors must respond by June 27.

Falsifying corporate records carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $5,000 fine per charge, but Merchan has plenty of room to play in determining the punishment. Some experts expect Merchan will pursue other options, such as fines, probation or house arrest. But others say he could order Trump to spend some time behind bars.

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