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Trump found guilty in criminal proceedings, a “shameful first” for a former American president



“After decades of dishonest practices, it’s finally official: Trump is a criminal,” underlines the American left-wing magazine Mother Jones. During his criminal trial in New York, the former US president was found guilty on Thursday of all 34 crimes of falsifying accounting documents, intended to hide a payment of $130,000 to porn actress Stormy Daniels to avoid a sex scandal just before the 2016 presidential election.

This verdict is “a shameful first”, estimates the Los Angeles Times which reminds us that until now, “no former president had ever been tried, much less convicted, for crimes.”

Legally, however, this decision does not prevent the Republican from competing in the presidential election in November. “The Constitution does not prohibit those with criminal convictions from being elected or serving as commander in chief, even if they are behind bars. The nation’s founders left this decision in the hands of the voters”, explains it New York Times.

The former Republican president, who remained stoic, with his shoulders lowered, in the courtroom after the reading of the verdict, appeared combative as he left the court. He denounced a trial “rigged”a “shame”and assured that the “true verdict” would fall on November 5. His sentence will be pronounced on July 11, four days before the Republican Party convention which is to nominate him as the candidate of the American conservatives. In the meantime, he remains free. One of his lawyers has indicated his intention to file an appeal quickly.

An investiture “unthinkable barely ten years ago”

For the Los Angeles TimesTrump’s new status souldn’t “probably not significantly affect” his chances of winning the presidential election. “If I had to bet, I would bet on no impact – or on a fluctuation in the polls, followed by a return to the status quo”analyzes Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, cited by the Californian daily. “Criminal or not, Trump voters have so far been fiercely loyal to their preferred candidate”estimates the Los Angeles Times.

“Now that he is the first former president convicted as a felon, Trump will attempt to become the first convicted felon to be elected president”, notice the Washington Post. Just a decade ago, it was unthinkable that someone convicted of a serious crime could win the Republican presidential nomination – but it will happen, barring a twist. And it was completely impossible that such a person could actually ascend to the highest office in the land – but that could also happen, according to the polls.”

For the editorial board of the conservative daily The Wall Street Journalwho considers that the holding of this trial was not justified, this verdict “creates a precedent” which will encourage political parties to have “use of legal procedures (…) aimed at attempting to eliminate political opponents, including former presidents”. “Mr. Trump has already promised to reciprocate” to his adversaries, the journalists point out. “Democrats who are tempted to rejoice on Thursday when reading this verdict should therefore think twice. (Prosecutor Alvin) Bragg may have just ushered in a destabilizing new era in American politics, and no one can say how it will end.”

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