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  • Donald Trump was found guilty of felony charges for his role in covering up a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.


  • Mother Teresa could not beat these charges.


  • These charges are rigged.


  • The whole thing is rigged. WSJ's courts reporter, Corinne Ramey, watched it all unfold inside the courtroom.


  • She walks us through key moments from the trial and explains what the verdict means for Trump. At the center of the charges against Trump were dozens of documents, including 11 checks, 11 invoices, and 12 entries in Trump's general ledger.


  • This was ultimately not a trial about an affair.


  • It was a trial about business documents and a cover-up, right? Absolutely.


  • Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records.


  • Falsifying business records in New York is a misdemeanor, but here it's a felony because prosecutors had to show that Trump was seeking to commit or conceal a second crime. Prosecutors argued that the reason Trump falsified business records was to cover up a conspiracy to illegally promote his election to the presidency.


  • A conspiracy, they said, that involved Trump, his fixer Michael Cohen, and the publisher of The National Enquirer, David Pecker, who worked together to catch and kill stories damaging to Trump's campaign.


  • Like the story about an alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, who Cohen paid $130,000 to silence in the final days of the 2016 campaign.


  • Trump has denied the affair. The prosecution kicked things off by calling Pecker to the stand to outline the conspiracy.


  • They established not only is there a conspiracy, but there's a specific moment when this supposedly begins.


  • So they have this meeting.


  • Then here we have Pecker talking about how he is Trump's eyes and ears.


  • Then here we have sort of him defining the catch and kill scheme.


  • He says, "I'd notify Michael Cohen, and then he would be able to have them kill in another magazine or have them not be published or somebody would have to purchase them." Pecker also testified that he helped buy and kill two stories that could be damaging to Trump in order to help Trump's campaign.

    マイケル・コーエンに知らせれば、他の雑誌に掲載されるか、掲載されないか、誰かが購入しなければならなくなる "と言う。ペッカーはまた、トランプの選挙キャンペーンを助けるために、トランプに不利になる可能性のある2つの記事を買って殺すのを手伝ったと証言した。

  • After establishing the conspiracy, prosecutors called Hope Hicks, Trump's former communications director, and they took jurors back to the weeks before the 2016 election. Hope Hicks was important because she talked about how the campaign was in crisis mode in responding to the Access Hollywood tape. "And when you're a star, they let you do it.


  • You can do anything.


  • Grab them by the pussy." She explained to the jury why the hush money payment was really responding to this crisis within the campaign and was not made for purposes of Melania or Trump's family. Then the prosecution called porn star Stormy Daniels.


  • Were you expecting Stormy Daniels to take the stand?


  • This was a real unknown going into the trial.


  • We didn't know if Stormy would take the stand.


  • In some ways, she's tangential to the case.


  • Her testimony absolutely mattered.


  • What didn't matter was whether that 2006 alleged sexual encounter happened.


  • Like, it doesn't matter if Trump and Stormy had sex.


  • What matters is that Stormy was trying to sell her story.


  • And I think when she was on the stand, jurors saw what that story looked like. Throughout the trial, the jury also heard about Trump as a businessman from former staffers and also from books he wrote.


  • He writes, "As I said before, I always sign my checks so I know where my money's going." That helped establish a pattern to show that Trump was a micromanager of his business dealings. Finally, the prosecution called its star witness.


  • Michael Cohen is an extremely flawed witness.


  • How did the prosecution set him up so that he was ultimately believable to the jury?


  • Well, before Michael Cohen even walked in that room, I think those jurors felt like they already had met Michael Cohen.


  • And they had established, before he even got on the stand, why all of what Cohen said made sense, corroborated much of it with other witnesses, that the jurors essentially didn't need to take any kind of leap of faith to believe Cohen, or in the instances when nobody else could speak to what Cohen could speak to, they were set up to believe him. So let's look at what some of Cohen actually said in court.


  • First, he said Trump directed the hush money payment to begin with, right?


  • He did, and he said Trump said to him, "Just do it." And then there's testimony about Cohen trying to get his money back.

    そうしたら、トランプが "いいからやれ "と言ったそうです。そしてコーエンが金を取り戻そうとしたという証言もある。

  • Yes.


  • And Trump's sitting right there, and the prosecutor says, "What did Trump do or something to that effect?" And Cohen says he approved it.

    トランプはそこに座っていて、検察官が "トランプは何をしたか、あるいはそのような趣旨のことをしたか?"と言う。コーエンはそれを承認したと言う。

  • And that's really important because it goes to the heart of Trump having a role in the creation of those false documents. Ultimately, the jury found that Trump falsified business documents to pay Cohen back for his $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, disguising the reimbursement payments as money for a legal retainer. Why didn't Trump testify?


  • Defense attorneys typically advise their clients not to testify.


  • It's really, really risky.


  • It's a little bit of a Hail Mary move.


  • And if Trump had gotten on that stand, prosecutors could have asked him about all kinds of things. The verdict made Trump the first former U.S.


  • president ever convicted of a crime.


  • Next, Trump will be sentenced by Justice Juan Merchant. What are the possibilities when it comes to sentencing?


  • He's got a full menu of possibilities.


  • Probation, he could give him a jail sentence.


  • He could give him essentially no sentence at all as long as he doesn't commit another crime. Trump, who faces three other criminal indictments in separate cases, has denied wrongdoing and has painted the trial as a politically motivated sham.


  • Trump has plenty of legal issues to grapple with as he campaigns.


  • How all of this plays out is really up in the air if he becomes president because it's unprecedented.


Donald Trump was found guilty of felony charges for his role in covering up a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.


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