Trump plans to appeal conviction as donations flood in


Donald Trump’s July 11 sentencing is days before Republicans formally nominate him as a candidate.
Donald Trump’s July 11 sentencing is days before Republicans formally nominate him as a candidate.

Donald Trump says he will appeal the guilty verdict that made him the first US president convicted of a crime while his campaign says it has received a record daily amount of cash from small donors following the conviction.

In rambling remarks at the Trump Tower lobby in Manhattan where he announced his first presidential run in 2015, Trump repeated his complaints that the trial was an attempt to hobble his comeback White House bid and warned that it showed no US citizen was safe from politically motivated prosecution.

“If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,” Trump said in an unscripted 33-minute speech.

Applauded by supporters, the Republican candidate in the 2024 election took no questions from reporters.

Thursday’s guilty verdict catapults the United States into unexplored territory ahead of the November 5 vote, when Trump, 77, will try to win back the White House from Democratic President Joe Biden, 81.

The charge he was convicted of, falsifying business records, carries a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Others convicted of that crime often receive shorter sentences, fines or probation.

But Trump’s public criticism of jurors and witnesses during the trial, which prompted Justice Juan Merchan to impose a $US10,000 ($A15,000) fine, could push the judge to impose a tougher penalty, said Rebecca Roiphe, a former New York prosecutor.

Any sentence would likely be suspended until the appeals process plays out.

A close ally, House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson, predicted the US Supreme Court would eventually overturn the verdict.

“I think they’ll set this straight but it’s going to take a while,” he said on Fox News.

Incarceration would not prevent Trump from campaigning, or taking office if he were to win.

Biden noted on Friday that Trump was found guilty by a unanimous jury, and he slammed the former president’s attempts to cast the case against him as politically motivated as “reckless,” “dangerous” and “irresponsible”.

Joe Biden and Donald Trump
President Joe Biden’s campaign has urged the public to vote against Donald Trump in November. (AP PHOTO)

Trump’s July 11 sentencing comes just days before the Republican Party is due to formally nominate him as its presidential candidate at its convention in Milwaukee.

Trump was found guilty of 34 criminal counts of falsifying documents to cover up a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to illegally influence the 2016 election outcome.

Trump that year defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Trump still faces three other criminal prosecutions – two for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat – but the New York verdict could be the only one handed down before the US election as the other cases have been tied up in legal wrangling.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all four cases, which he says are politically motivated.

A source familiar with his campaign’s inner workings said the verdict was expected to prompt him to intensify deliberations on picking a woman as his vice presidential running mate.

Democratic politicians said the verdict showed nobody was above the law while many Republicans embraced Trump’s assertions the prosecutions were a politically motivated attempt to prevent his return to power.

Trump’s campaign said it raised $US35 million from small donors after the verdict, nearly double its previous daily record.

Several major Republican donors said they would continue to donate to Trump’s campaign despite the conviction.

Biden urged the public to vote against Trump in November.

“There’s only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: At the ballot box,” he said on social media after the verdict.

The jury found Trump guilty of falsifying business documents after a trial that featured explicit testimony from Daniels about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in 2006 while he was married to his current wife Melania.

Trump denies ever having sex with Daniels.

Trump’s former fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen testified that Trump approved a $US130,000 hush money payment to Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 election, when he faced multiple accusations of sexual misbehaviour.

Cohen testified that he handled the payment and that Trump approved a plan to reimburse him through monthly payments disguised as legal work.

Falsifying business documents is normally a misdemeanour in New York but prosecutors in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office elevated the case to a felony on grounds that Trump was concealing an illegal campaign contribution.

with AP