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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Trump repeats unfounded claims about hush-money trial at NYC press conference

A Manhattan jury on Thursday found Trump guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records.

MANHATTAN (CN) — The day after he became the first U.S. president to be convicted of a felony, Donald Trump held a press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan where he lambasted his criminal trial as “very unfair” before suddenly pivoting to discuss national issues like the migrant crisis.

Much of the roughly 30-minute presser on Friday echoed the ones he gave to reporters daily in the courthouse during the six-week trial.

He parroted baseless claims he made throughout the proceedings, such as that New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg were working with President Joe Biden and the Department of Justice to convict Trump in the hush-money case.

“They are in total conjunction with the White House and the DOJ, just so you understand,” Trump said Friday. “This is all done by Biden and his people — maybe his people, more importantly. I don’t know if Biden knows too much about it because I don’t know if he knows too much about anything.”

Trump claimed that he wanted to testify in his trial, but that “the theory is, you never testify.” 

“If it were George Washington, don’t testify because they will get you on something you said slightly wrong and they sue you for perjury,” Trump said.

Trump rested his case on May 21. He never took the stand in his own defense.

The former president on Friday also complained that he was still under a “nasty” gag order, imposed in March by Merchan to protect jurors, witnesses and others involved in the case. Trump continued to push the order’s limits when referencing his ex-lawyer Michael Cohen, who testified for prosecutors earlier this month.

“I’m not allowed to use his name because of the gag order, but you know he’s a sleazebag,” Trump said.

Cohen called Trump’s Friday presser “nothing shy of a batshit crazy avalanche of broken brain word manure” in a statement posted to X, formerly Twitter, and shared with Courthouse News.

Trump boasted that his campaign received $39 million in donations since his guilty verdict on Thursday (his campaign reports slightly less at $34.8 million) and celebrated his performance in a new Daily Mail presidential poll.

“I guess it’s backfired,” Trump said of his conviction.

But Trump often interrupted himself when talking about the trial to delve into tangents about national politics and the upcoming presidential election, in which he is the Republican nominee. He called Biden the “dumbest president” in U.S. history and chided him for his handling of the migrant crisis.

“Our veterans, our great veterans are living on the streets like dogs,” Trump said. “They’re living on the streets, but migrants are living in luxury hotels in cities all over the country run by Democrats.”

As Trump made numerous unfounded political claims — such as that Democrats want to ban cars and raise taxes by “four times” — networks including MSNBC and CNN cut off the live feed to his speech.

He took no questions as he stepped away from the podium.

Following Trump's presser, Biden’s reelection campaign issued a statement claiming the ex-president was “spiraling from his criminal convictions.”

“America just witnessed a confused, desperate, and defeated Donald Trump ramble about his own personal grievances and lie about the American justice system, leaving anyone watching with one obvious conclusion: This man cannot be the president of the United States,” the Biden campaign said.

Trump was the first president in American history to be charged, and now convicted, of a crime. A Manhattan jury on Thursday found him guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records. The jury found that Trump broke the law when he manipulated documents to cover up a scheme to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

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Categories / Politics, Trials

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