What Is Your Reaction to Trump’s Conviction on 34 Felony Counts?

What Is Your Reaction to Trump’s Conviction on 34 Felony Counts?

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On Thursday afternoon, The New York Times reported the news that a Manhattan jury had found former President Donald J. Trump guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records.

Donald J. Trump was convicted on Thursday of falsifying records to cover up a sex scandal that threatened to derail his 2016 presidential campaign, capping an extraordinary trial that tested the resilience of the American justice system and will reverberate into November’s election.

What is your reaction to the trial and the verdict?

The article continues:

Mr. Trump was convicted on all 34 counts of falsifying business records by a jury of 12 New Yorkers, who deliberated over two days to reach a decision in a case rife with descriptions of secret deals, tabloid scandal and an Oval Office pact with echoes of Watergate. The former president sat largely expressionless, a glum look on his face, after the jury issued its verdict. His sentencing was scheduled for July 11.

The jury found that Mr. Trump had faked records to conceal the purpose of money given to his onetime fixer, Michael D. Cohen. The false records disguised the payments as ordinary legal expenses when in truth, Mr. Trump was reimbursing Mr. Cohen for a $130,000 hush-money deal the fixer struck with the porn star Stormy Daniels to silence her account of a sexual liaison with Mr. Trump.

The felony conviction calls for a sentence of up to four years behind bars, but Mr. Trump may never see the inside of a prison cell. He could receive probation when he is sentenced, and he is certain to appeal the verdict — meaning it may be years before the case is resolved. Still, the jury’s decision is an indelible moment in America’s history, concluding the only one of four criminal cases against Mr. Trump that was likely to go to trial before Election Day.

This second article discusses the significance of the verdict, explaining that it caps “an extraordinary trial that tested the resilience of the American justice system and transformed the former commander in chief into a felon.” The article continues:

The guilty verdict in Manhattan — across the board, on all 34 counts — will reverberate throughout the nation and the world as it ushers in a new era of presidential politics. Mr. Trump will carry the stain of the verdict during his third run for the White House as voters now choose between an unpopular incumbent and a convicted criminal.

While it was once unthinkable that Americans would elect a felon as their leader, Mr. Trump’s insurgent behavior delights his supporters as he bulldozes the country’s norms. Now, the man who refused to accept his 2020 election loss is already seeking to delegitimize his conviction, attempting to assert the primacy of his raw political power over the nation’s rule of law.

Mr. Trump showed little emotion inside the courtroom as he learned his fate on Thursday, but when he emerged, holding his jaw tense, the former president spoke to an assembly of television cameras. He declared that the verdict was “a disgrace” and, with a somber expression, proclaimed: “This is long from over.”

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Students, read both articles and then tell us:

  • What is your reaction to the trial and the verdict?

  • Have you been following the case over the past few weeks? Are you surprised by the jury’s decision to convict the former president?

  • Mr. Trump immediately declared the verdict a “disgrace,” and his campaign quickly sent out a fund-raising email in which the former president said, in all capital letters, “I am a political prisoner!” What’s your reaction to Mr. Trump’s response?

  • What do you think the verdict says about the U.S. legal system and American democracy more broadly?

  • Do you think the verdict will affect the presidential election? In what ways?

  • What questions do you have about the case — or the verdict?

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public and may appear in print.

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