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And we are starting with breaking news this hour. You are looking live at the courthouse where we have word that the jury has reached a verdict in former President Donald Trump's hush money criminal trial.


We are standing in front of the municipal courthouse in lower Manhattan. It's 514, and I have just hoofed it over here from my apartment because we got word about 25 minutes ago that this jury, after just a day and a half, has reached a verdict in the hush money case of for President Trump. Behind me are a huge number of demonstrators who have gone quiet. The verdicts are starting to be read one by one. And so far, according to our colleagues who are in the room, they are guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Every single one of the council members there are 34 are guilty. And just to make it official from the New York Times, I'm Michael barbaro. This is the daily. Donald J. Trump, former president of the United States, has become the first president to be convicted of a crime. And it's absolutely no overstatement, a historic moment. It's. By the time you hear this, be Friday, May 31. Jonah Bromwich.


How's it going, Michael?




You okay?




I mean, I should ask you, how's it going, Jonah?


I'm okay.




You've got that glow of post trial glow. It's over.


Mm hmm. Jonah, I want you to take us inside the courtroom for the moment of this historic verdict, and then we'll talk about why this was the ultimate verdict. But just start by setting the scene in the room. There were no cameras, as has been the case throughout this trial. So be our camera for this final day.


You got it? So let's rewind just a little bit before the verdict, back to 415 pm, because around 04:15 p.m. the prosecutors have come into the courtroom, as has Donald Trump. And the judge gets up on the bench and he says something a little confusing, which is that he is planning to dismiss the jury at 04:30 p.m. so immediately I see tweets starting to go up. No verdict today. There's kind of a release of tension in the courtroom to some extent, right? But 430 comes and this very punctual judge is not there. And then another minute passes. Another minute passes, and then the judge comes back in the courtroom and he gets on the bench. And what he says is, at 04:20 p.m. five minutes after he had previously addressed us, the jury had sent him a note, and the note had said that they had a verdict. So the tension rushes right back in. And sure enough, about a half an hour later, the jury files in. One juror looks at Trump. She already knows what's gonna happen in a second, but the former president does not. And they go to their seats, and the foreman stands up and he confirms to the judge that they do, in fact, have a verdict.


And then it all happens very, very quickly. He's suddenly being asked how they found the defendant on the first count. The foreman, without any hesitation, in a flat voice, says, guilty. And he says guilty on the second count. He says guilty on the third count, and he is going really, really fast. So we are hearing Donald Trump transformed into a felon and then hit with a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth, eventually a 34th felony count on which he has been found guilty by a jury of twelve New Yorkers in the span of two minutes.




So think about that for a second. 34 counts over the span of two minutes. It went by really quickly.


It's almost like a bell ringing in that room.




Guilty. That's right.


Guilty. Guilt. What is Trump's reaction?


I didn't have a perfect view of Trump, but I interviewed someone who did, one of the sketch artists who's been there day in, day out during the trial. She had a great view of Trump. She said that when the convictions started raining down on him, he closed his eyes and then he shook his head and mouthed the word no. And by the end of the recitation, he's kind of slumped back in his seat, slack. All the air has gone out of him, and it's over. He's been convicted. And the judge thanks the jury for their service. He thanks them profusely. And then he seems almost as if he's about to leave the judge. But then he asks about Trump's bail status. Meaning, is Trump going to be imprisoned or not? And there is no bail status set. And he releases him on his own recognizance, which is just a legal way of saying that he releases him. So Trump is free to go. Trump does, in fact, go. He stands up and he makes to move out of the courtroom. And I can see that his face is kind of strong, he's jutting out his jaw, but it really looks this time as if it's effortful, as if he's trying to hold it together.


He shakes Eric Trump's hand. Eric Trump, his son, is sitting right behind him. And he walks out of the courtroom.


No handcuffs, no booking. Is that typical?


Yeah. This is a nonviolent crime in New York, and the sentencing hasn't happened. Yet Trump was, of course, never in prison before this. So it's not unusual that he would not be sent to jail at this point.


So that's it? He walks out and waits for the moment when he's sentenced.


That's right.


Okay, so let's talk about how we got to this unanimous verdict and what I think we should acknowledge as a total victory for the district attorney who brought this case. When you were last at this table with me, closing arguments had just finished for the prosecution and the defense. So help us understand what happened that brings us to this outcome after that.


Sure. So Wednesday morning, bright and early, we were back at it in the courtroom where the judge gave the jury their instructions. And in these instructions, he, for the first time, really helped them to understand this very complicated case, because each of the 34 felony falsifying business record charges against Donald Trump holds within it multiple other crimes. So let me explain what I mean by that. So prosecutors accused Trump of covering up reimbursements to Michael Cohen that came after Cohen paid Stormy Daniels. And prosecutors say that's payments of Stormy Daniels was part of an election conspiracy that Trump, Cohen and the former publisher of the National Enquirer, David pecker, were all involved in.




So the jury is for the first time hearing that not only do they have to find him guilty or not guilty of falsifying business records, number one, but it has to cover up that election conspiracy. And even more complicatedly, that election conspiracy has to have made use of unlawful means. And I'm doing air quotes with my hands. So there's another crime underneath the election conspiracy. The jurors don't have to be unanimous about what that crime is, but they have to find that in some way, somehow, Donald Trump criminally conspired to win the 2016 election, and that he falsified business records to do so.


I'm curious if this felt confusing to the jurors, because it is very complicated.


Yeah, I mean, it was confusing, and I can say that for a fact because the jurors actually asked to hear the jury instructions read back again. But we learn later they didn't want to hear the entire 55 page jury instruction. They asked to start at a very specific place. So in these jury instructions, the judge explained this concept called evidentiary inference. And it's a lot of syllables, but it means something very simple, which is, what kinds of logical leaps to conclusions can you make when you're evaluating a criminal case? And so what the judge had already told them and now tells them again, he explains by analogy, he says suppose you go to bed one night and it's not raining, and you wake up in the morning and you look out your window and you see that the street is wet and the sidewalk is wet. Under those circumstances, it might be reasonable to infer that it had rained overnight.




And so in this case, what he seems to be saying and what these instructions, more importantly, seem to be guiding them is, yes, maybe Trump is not. In every situation that prosecutors have said, this looks as if a crime were committed. This is a part of the conspiracy. But given that the evidence gestures at him leading all these actions that prosecutors have talked about, it might be reasonable to infer that, in fact, Trump was responsible for these various hush money deals that prosecutors have said were part of the conspiracy.




And for the falsification of business records to cover up one hush money deal in particular, that payment to stormy Daniels.


So in a sense, it kind of sounds like the jury is in asking for this particular set of instructions suggesting that in their minds, everything is wet. And they are asking, can we infer that when it comes to Trump in this case, it has rained?


Yeah, that's exactly right. And along with the jury instructions, the jurors have asked her four excerpts of testimony, three of them belonging to David Pecker. Prosecutors say that he's one member of the tripod conspiracy that was formed at Trump Tower between Pecker, Michael Cohen, and Donald Trump to suppress negative news about Trump in the 2016 election.




So three pieces of testimony from Pecker, one piece of testimony from Michael Cohen, and two of those pieces of testimony actually concern that Trump tower meeting. They want to hear what Michael Cohen had to say about it. They want to hear what David Pecker had to say about it.


And what do you take from the request for these pieces of testimony again?


So it's a fool's errand to read too much into requests like this. They could have been looking for 100 different things. But it was interesting to me that they wanted testimony from both Pecker and Cohen about the same meeting. Because what it suggests to me is, oh, maybe they want to compare these two accounts of this very, very important meeting in the prosecution's case. And so we looked up the transcripts, and what we saw is Pecker and Cohen tell pretty much the same story. Like, for instance, David Pecker testified that at that meeting, he offered to be Trump's eyes and ears. Michael Cohen testified that at that meeting, David Becker offered to keep an eye out for negative news stories about Trump during the campaign. So, yeah, those don't exactly match, but that's a win. If you have two people telling a story from 2015 in 2024, and they're using expressions that directly echo each other, that's pretty good for the prosecution's case.


Right. Because the jurors seem to be focusing on what feels like an important moment in the development of this conspiracy. And, of course, conspiracy is at the center of these charges.




Okay. We, of course, now know that these inquiries from the jurors were an insight into their mindset, which was that Trump was guilty. And that makes me want to reflect for just a moment on the defense in this case. Because, jonah, throughout our conversations, all these episodes we've done with you, you've always found a way to signal, I think, that the defense was meaningfully weaker in its presentation to the jury than the prosecution was. And now that the case is over, and now that we know that the defense has lost, I wonder what your diagnosis is of why they lost.


Well, let's be clear. The defense was up against an enormous amount in this case. The prosecution had a ton of documentary evidence. They had a New York jury, which means people who may not have been all that sympathetic to Donald Trump, they had a strong trial team and strong trial lawyers, and they had a pretty elegantly designed trial case with a lot of sizzle and flash and exciting stuff to get the jury engaged and keep them engaged. But the prosecution also had one big advantage that we haven't talked about yet. And defense had one big disadvantage, and it's the same thing. It's Donald Trump. Donald Trump was under a gag order for this entire trial, and that gag order barred him from attacking witnesses, among other people. Two witnesses who we'd be most prone to attacking were Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen. And so it's very interesting that while Trump was gagged like this, was not able to attack those people, his lawyers, the people who actually are not hired to attack for him, they're not attack dogs, actually. They're lawyers. Did two things that really stick out in my mind. One is that they denied that he had sex with Stormy Daniels.


They did. Then their opening, that's not a part of the case, but it's something that Trump has done for years and years. And so that clearly was very important to them, probably because it was very important to him. And then even more obviously, they attacked Michael Cohen at every chance they got. They attacked him in their opening. They attacked him in their closing. They attacked him while he was testifying. They attacked him while other people were testifying. Attack. Michael Cohen was their 1st, second, and third instinct in this case, maybe because it is Donald Trump's 1st, second and third instinct to attack his adversaries. But in criminal court, where there are parameters, you have to be thoughtful and elegant and concede things that you don't necessarily want to concede. There was a point during this case where the judge even told the defense the jury was out of the room. You could have attacked the idea of the false business records. You could have attacked this, you could have attacked that. But instead, you spent your opening statement opening the door to testimony from Stormy.


Daniels by denying a sexual encounter ever happened.


By denying that sexual encounter ever happened. So when we think about the defense in this case, I think we have to think about the defendant.


Hmm. You're saying basically the defense is hamstrung by the requirements of what Donald Trump wanted from his defense lawyer, which seemed to be a set of attacks that have worked well for him in politics, but just didn't seem to work that well against all this evidence in this courtroom.


That's exactly right. An example that people kept bringing up during the trial, sources, lawyers, people who have seen a lot of trials, they would say what they should say is, look, my client is a scumbag. We know you hate him, but he did not do this. That's the kind of thing, that's the kind of candidness, or what would be perceived, at least by jurors, as candidness that can get the jury on your side.


They could have been a more effective defense if Trump would let them.


Yes. This did not go well for the defense. Their client, former President Donald Trump, has been convicted of 34 felonies.


Right. And the question now that he has been convicted on all these counts is, what happens to him? What happens next?


Right. It's a good question, and the answer is complicated and not entirely clear.


We'll be right back.


Hey, everyone, it's astead Herndon, political reporter for the New York Times. I think that journalism that is accurate and fair is a bedrock of democracy, is how folks make informed decisions. Decisions. It's how we learn things that other people, many times people in power, are trying to hide. And when you are taking the idea of fairness seriously, that means that you have made clear to both sides of the aisle, which you intend to report, you have made sure it's accurate, and that it lives up to the standards of independence that the New York Times believes in. It's not just people can trust what we're saying has been vetted. It's that we have gone through, through that process without trying to calibrate or dilute that information to appease one side or the other. If you want to support the work that we do, you can subscribe to the New York subscribe.


Ok, so, jonah, what does happen next in this case of the people of the state of New York versus Donald Trump? Just give us a roadmap for the next few days and weeks.


In the next few days, it's entirely possible we could see an appeal. Trump is not known for holding his fire when it comes to legal maneuvers of that sort.


But appeals on what ground?


Well, that's what remains to be seen. It'll be very interesting to figure out what exactly Trump's lawyers decide to bring up here. There is one very obvious thing, which is that Trump was charged with falsifying business records to cover up an election conspiracy. That election conspiracy is related to this little known state law, 17 152, it's called. And it just doesn't have that much history. Certainly it has no history being used in this manner. And so one thing that I would imagine Trump's lawyers will bring up is the enormity of this case based on this not very well known law.


Okay, so that's the question of appeals. Turn now to sentencing.


So this we know a little bit more straightforwardly. We don't know what's gonna happen, of course, but we know when it's going to happen. The judge has already scheduled the sentencing. It's going to be in July. It's actually gonna be four days before the republican convention where Trump is officially nominated.


That's incredible timing.


So we keep having this split screen this year of Trump's legal issues and his campaign.




And here's another example of it.


Is it normal for sentencing to be delayed this long? July is a month and change away.


It's extremely normal because in New York, what happens before sentencing is you get something called a probation report. You meet with the probation office of New York.


Trump is gonna go into the probation office in New York.


They will probably come to him, I would imagine, given Secret Service concerns. But Trump will meet with a probation officer who will interview him and will provide a report recommending a certain sentence. And that's one of many things the judge can take into account.




When he decides to sentence Donald Trump.


Okay, so that was my next question. Who's responsible for sentencing? You just said it's the judge. What kind of sentence guidelines are in place? What kind of sentence might there be?


So Trump has been convicted of 34 e nonviolent felonies. The penalty for the felonies he's been convicted of is up to four years in prison, but there's no prison time required, so he could also just be put on probation. And there's a lot of considerations that go into this. So, for example, Trump is a first time offender, right? Often, a first time offender on a nonviolent felony might get a relatively lenient sentence, maybe just probation, maybe a small amount of time in jail. But there are also considerations, on the other hand, to take into account, such as Trump violated a gag order ten times during this trial and was fined $10,000 for doing so. And so the fact that he flouted the judge's orders ten separate times, that could also be taken into account. There's also the question of how Trump behaves after the verdict. Judges often evaluate a defendant's remorse, or lack thereof. In fact, the judge in Trump's civil fraud case, when he came down very, very hard on him, charging him hundreds of millions of dollars, explicitly commented on Trump's lack of remorse, said it was near pathological, and it would not be unusual or an abuse of power.


It would be totally typical to look at what a defendant is doing, a convicted defendant is doing, and take it into account when you think about a sentence.


In other words, Trump's not only lack of remorse so far, but his open disdain for the judge. And this entire process could end up being very consequential when it comes to sentencing.


It's a genuine danger for him.


Okay, well, let's just play this out. Let's say on July 11 that the judge does sentence Trump to prison. What happens? What does it look like?


I don't know. I mean, normally, when a defendant is sentenced, I'll give you an example, like Alan Weisselberg. That's Trump's former chief financial officer. I've seen him sentenced twice in the past few years. And after he was sentenced, he was handcuffed, he was taken into custody, and eventually he went to Rikers to serve out kind of months long sentences each time. But with Trump, even though that's normally what would happen, I just can't sit here and tell you, Michael, that I know that exact same thing is going to happen. Trump has been so successful at fighting american norms since the minute he came onto the political scene in 2015. But I don't know what happens if the judge sentences him to prison, whether he goes, whether the sentence is somehow deferred or delayed, either until after the election or later, if Trump appeals, perhaps.


Even after his presidency, perhaps even after.


His presidency, if he's elected. If Trump appeals, the judge could decide to keep him out during the appeal, just to be maximally fair. That would make sense and seems as if it's something we could see happen. I really just feel somewhat at a loss. It's funny, because usually a verdict kind of helps you feel more confident. Now, we don't have to say allegations. We can say Trump falsified business records to orchestrate a conspiracy to aid his 2016 election.


Right. But we cannot say exactly what the consequence is going to be.




Well, let's play out the alternative, which is that the judge at sentencing says, no prison time, just probation. What kind of restrictions would a conviction but no prison time have on Trump in terms of his movements or ability to conduct a campaign, as best you understand it?


I mean, this is just a remarkable possibility. Often people on probation have to meet with their probation officer, tell them what they've been up to. So, for instance, something that our colleague Willie Rashbomb keeps saying is Trump will have to answer the question, what are you doing for work? I mean, if he's elected, I'm president. Exactly. People on probation are not supposed to associate with known felons. That's something of an issue for Trump.


Right. Because known felons are in his political orbit.


That's right. And a third thing you're supposed to tell a probation officer is your travel plans when you leave a state. Usually someone who is on probation has their movements restricted.




And, you know, who travels a lot and leaves the state a lot? A candidate for president.


That's right.


So this is gonna be very strange, even if he's just on probation.




Let's assume for a minute that Donald Trump gets reelected, because as best I can tell, and correct me if I'm wrong, Jonah, nothing about this conviction disqualifies him from holding the office of president.


That's right.


We know once he becomes president, he can't pardon himself for this crime, because it's a local crime, not a federal crime. As president, he can pardon himself, in theory, for federal crimes. This is one of them. But once he becomes president, what can he do with the power of that office to somehow mitigate the fact of this conviction? Is there anything you can do?


I mean, as far as we can see right now, not that much. A conviction stays with you. There could be some mechanism through which Trump is able to alter this. But for now, it's going to be what any conviction is. It's going to stay with him and follow him for the rest of his life, very possibly. This is a real serious stain on his legacy.


Jonah, we know that throughout this trial, Trump has spoken of it as a witch hunt. Said he didnt think he could get a fair trial in New York, that the government was out to get him. And this is the latest chapter of Democrats seeking his destruction. How has he responded to the conviction in the hours since the verdict came down?


In much the same way, but with one big difference.


This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt.


He attacked the judge. He attacked the case.


Our whole country is being rigged right now. This was done by the Biden administration.


He attacked President Biden, saying that the case had been brought by him, which it was not.




But then he said, the real verdict.


Is going to be November 5 by the people.


The real verdict is going to be on November 5, election day.


This is launch from over. Thank you very much.


Trump has been trapped in court, but now he's out until the sentencing, at least he's out and he's back in the political realm, and he's gonna take what happened legally and reframe it politically. And that's what he's doing by pointing at the election. He is going to take this case in which he was convicted by a jury of his peers, and he is gonna say, look at this nonsense that was brought against me by President Biden. This is why we have to beat the Democrats in November.


Right? And I know you're not a political reporter, you're a court reporter, but I think we do have to reflect on the kind of strangeness of this moment as it lands in the political sphere. I mean, for a good number of Democrats, this is the outcome that on some level, they may have always expected and perhaps wanted, given Trump's conduct, they wanted him convicted of a crime. For a good number of Republicans who have been told by Trump that he's the subject of a witch hunt and they're coming after him, this is also the outcome that they expected, but they didn't want it. They dreaded it, because they believe Trump is a victim of a witch hunt. And I guess the question is, what does this mean? Not to those two groups, but to this crucial group of voters in the middle who didn't want it, didn't fear it, but now just have to live in a world where one of the two candidates for president has been convicted of a crime.


This is the all important political question, and I feel comfortable answering it because in some ways, it is a question about the law.


Hmm. What do you mean?


Trump has taken on the law, and the law has taken on Trump. He's been indicted four times. He's been convicted in this first trial, and he has, at every turn, said that the law is illegitimate. And so one way to ask the question you just asked me is, leaving aside people who hate Trump and people who love Trump, what will people choose, the law or Donald Trump? That's what this election is going to be about. The american legal system. And what it says is okay, and what it says is not. This man who has run roughshod over it has taken what it has to offer, which is a jury trial, has been convicted and may still triumph. So I think that this election pits the law against Donald Trump in the minds of the american voter, and it's just gonna be fascinating to see what they do.


Well, jonah, thank you very much.


Of course. Thanks for having me throughout the trial.


Thank you for being here throughout the trial.


We'll be right back. Here's what else you need to know today. On Thursday, President Biden authorized Ukraine to conduct limited strikes inside of Russia with US made weapons, opening a new and riskier chapter in the two year old war. The decision marks the first time that a us president has authorized attacks on military targets inside a nuclear armed adversary. Biden has long resisted such a move, fearing that it could trigger a us war with Russia. As a result, his authorization is extremely narrow. Under it, Ukraine may use american weapons to hit targets just inside russian territory that have been attacking Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv. Ukraine may not use us weapons to attack Russia more broadly. A reminder will be sharing a new episode of our colleagues show the interview tomorrow. This week, David Marchese talks with the director Richard Linklater about his new movie hitman, and about how his relationship to movie making has changed over the past four decades.


I don't think you can ever replace that initial just passion and fury when you've discovered your art form and you just take it in with your entire being.


Today's episode was produced by Olivia Nat, Michael, Simon Johnson, and Eric Krupke, with help from Moog Zaidie and Luke Vander Pluck. It was edited by Paige Cowett, contains original music by Dan Powell, Rohini Misto, and Diane Wong, and was engineered by Alyssa Moxley. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landfurk of Wynderley. The Daily is made by Rachel Quester, Lindsey Garrison, Claire Tenischetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Chris Wood, Jessica Chung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Lee Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Mark George, Luc Vanderblug, MJ Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Sydney Harper, Michael Benoit, Liz Obalen, Asta Chaturvedi, Rochelle Banja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Rob Zipko, Alicia Baetub, Mooch Zaidie, Patricia Willans, Roy Nimisto, Jodi Becker, Ricky Novetsky, Nina Feldman, Will Reid, Carlos Prieto, Ben Calhoun, Susan Lee, Lexi Dio, Mary Wilson, Alex Stern, Sophia Landman, Shannon Lin, Diane Wong, Devon Taylor, Alyssa Moxley, Olivia Nat, Daniel Ramirez and Brendan Klinkenberg. Special thanks to Lisa Tobin, Sam Dolnick, Paula Schuman, Larissa Anderson, Julia Simon, Sophia Millan, Mahima Chablani, Elizabeth Davis Moore, Jeffrey Miranda, Renan Borelli, Maddie Maciello, Isabella Anderson, Nina Lassem and Nick Pittman. That's it for the daily I'm Michael Bobaro.


See you on Monday.