Trump hush money conviction: Biden responds to Trump’s conviction

A crowd of supporters gathered outside of Trump Tower before former President Donald Trump spoke after he was convicted of all 34 counts filed against him in New York’s hush money case.

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Update 1:31 p.m. EDT May 31: Hours later, President Joe Biden spoke during a scheduled news conference about the Middle East.

Biden, one of the targets of Trump’s earlier event, said of the former president’s conviction that it shows that “no one is above the law.”

The sitting president said that the jury was made up of citizens who heard the evidence and who made the decision to convict.

“This jury was chosen the same way every jury in America has been chosen. It was a process that Donald Trump’s attorney was part of. The jury heard five weeks of evidence — five weeks — and after careful deliberation, the jury reached a unanimous verdict,” Biden said, according to The New York Times.

He also fired back at Trump’s repeated claims that the administration was behind Trump’s charges and trials, saying, “It’s reckless, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict,” the newspaper reported.

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT May 31: Trump finished his remarks in less than 40 minutes without taking questions, despite it being hyped as an hour-long news conference. In reality, it was more like a campaign speech, speaking on not only his conviction but also immigration and President Joe Biden, CNN reported on air.

The New York Times said the speech lasted 33 minutes.

He called Biden “the worst president in the history of our country,” “most incompetent” and “most dishonest,” The Associated Press reported.

Update 11:26 a.m. EDT May 31: Despite the gag order against him, Trump brought up a witness, not by name, but seemingly to refer to his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who he characterized as an “effective” lawyer, who ended up being a “sleazebag,” The New York Times reported.

Cohen testified for the prosecution detailing how the hush money payments were made, the same repayments that were marked in the business records as lawyer fees and were at the center of the case.

Trump said that while Cohen was characterized as a “fixer” but Trump said he was a lawyer.

The Times pointed out that Trump’s comments can be taken under consideration when Judge Juan Marcan sentences the former president on July 11. The comments may also violate the gag order issued by Merchan since Trump commented on the star witness.

Trump even highlighted it saying “I’m not allowed to use his name because of the gag order,” The Associated Press reported.

Update 11:22 a.m. EDT May 31: Trump also called the trial “very unfair.”

“As far as the trial itself, it was very unfair. We weren’t allowed to use our election expert under any circumstances. You saw what happened to some of the witnesses that were on our side, they were literally crucified by this man,” he said, according to CNN.

Update 11:15 a.m. EDT May 31: Trump said that he wanted to testify but that legal experts said it was not in his interests to do so. He also said that Judge Juan Merchan permitted testimony on “everything that I was ever involved in.” The New York Times called the statement “a misrepresentation of the scope of the trial.”

“I would have testified, I wanted to testify,” he said, The Washington Post reported. “The theory is you never testify because as soon as you testify, anybody, if it were George Washington, don’t testify because they’ll get you on something that you said slightly wrong and then they sue you for perjury. But I didn’t care about that, I wanted to.”

Trump once again said, “This is a scam, this is a rigged trial.” and that the prosecutors were as “salacious as they could be” but that it was a political, adding that it was a federal case, but on the federal level, it was dropped, but was moved to the state level.

Original report: Trump started his remarks by saying of the conviction, “If they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone.”

His event was being held in the same lobby where he launched his first presidential campaign in 2016, one month short of nine years later, The Associated Press noted.

Trump was scheduled to speak at 11 a.m. despite his still being under a gag order issued by Judge Juan Merchan, CNN reported on air. The order was put in place to bar Trump from speaking about witnesses, jurors and others in the case, Reuters reported.

Trump mentioned the gag order that he said was never issued to a president and that he had to pay “thousands of dollars” in fines and threatened with jail. He frequently called Merchan “highly conflicted.”

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