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All the questions you have about Donald Trump's criminal conviction, answered

Erin Snodgrass,Lloyd Lee   

All the questions you have about Donald Trump's criminal conviction, answered
  • A jury found Donald Trump guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records on Thursday.
  • The historic criminal conviction of a US president raises several questions about Trump's future.

Former President Donald Trump is officially a felon.

The historic Thursday verdict against Trump represents the first time a US president has ever been criminally convicted.

The unprecedented legal outcome raises several questions about Trump's future, especially as he prepares to battle President Joe Biden for the presidency in November.

What was Trump found guilty of?

A Manhattan jury found Trump guilty of 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 hush-money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election.

What did Trump pay hush money for?

Trump directed Michael Cohen, his then-fixer, to pay Daniels $130,000 to buy her silence over a sexual encounter she alleges happened between the two at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2006 during a celebrity golf tournament. Trump then reimbursed Cohen the funds — plus more to cover taxes and a bonus — in a series of payments throughout 2017, the jurors found. Trump has repeatedly denied the affair.

Is Trump going to jail?

Despite being found guilty on all charges, Trump is not expected to go to prison. His crimes are nonviolent offenses, and Trump has no previous criminal record and is an elderly man at 77 years old. Legal experts told Business Insider that Trump will more likely receive probation at his sentencing, which is set for July 11.

Can a president pardon himself?

If Trump wins the election in November, he will have access to broad pardon powers. However, that authority won't apply to this conviction. The president only has pardon powers over federal charges and Trump's hush-money trial played out in New York state court.

Can a felon run for president?

Yes. The only three requirements for presidential candidates in the US Constitution are that they must be natural-born citizens, at least 35 years old, and have been US residents for at least 14 years.

The 14th Amendment also forbids anyone from taking office who has engaged in insurrection against the US. Several states pushed to keep Trump off the 2024 ballot because of this stipulation. But earlier this year, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of keeping the GOP frontrunner on the ballot.

Can Donald Trump still run for president?

Yes. And he's already doubled down on trying to use Thursday's guilty verdict to his advantage. The former president immediately started fundraising after the verdict.

What was Trump's reaction to the verdict?

Trump appeared furious about the jury's decision, baselessly accusing the trial of being "rigged" after hearing the verdict and declaring himself innocent.

"We didn't do a thing wrong. I'm a very innocent man," he told reporters, adding that the "real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people."

What was Michael Cohen's reaction to the verdict?

Cohen, Trump's former lawyer who provided critical witness testimony in the hush-money-trial, celebrated the verdict, telling Business Insider that it was "an important day for accountability and the rule of law."

"While it has been a difficult journey for me and my family, the truth always matters," he said.

What was Biden's reaction to the verdict?

President Joe Biden and his campaign on Thursday were mostly muted in responding to the verdict, acknowledging that Trump still has a path to the presidency despite the conviction.

"There's only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: At the ballot box," Biden wrote on X.

What was Stormy Daniels' reaction to the verdict?

Daniels, the adult film actress at the center of the entire case, has remained silent on the conviction, at least on social media. She did like an X post from comedian Kathy Griffin Thursday evening, who wrote, "Thank you @StormyDaniels."

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