June 14, 2024

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Trump impeachment: Here’s what you need to know about the debates

Trump impeachment: Here’s what you need to know about the debates

The twelve judges in Donald Trump’s trial for allegedly making hidden payments to an adult film star amid the 2016 presidential campaign will soon begin deliberating on the former US president’s legal fate.

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What are the possible scenarios?

What question should the judges answer?

During deliberations, jurors heard pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels describe her meeting and alleged sexual relationship with the Republican billionaire in 2006, which the latter denied.

Michael Cohen, a former confidant of the Republican billionaire, was denied by the defense that at the end of the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised him a $130,000 payment to keep quiet about the episode.

But in the end, the jury didn’t have to say whether the affair took place or whether the payments to the actress were legal. In essence, the question is: Was Donald Trump guilty or did he not commit 34 falsifications of accounting documents to cover up the repayment of this amount to Michael Cohen throughout 2017?

According to the lawsuit, these crimes were carried out through false invoices, checks (some of which were signed by Donald Trump) and false entries in the Trump Organization’s accounting books.

In order to find Donald Trump guilty, jurors must believe that these false documents were intended to cover up another crime. The $130,000, which was able to withhold information from voters, was alleged to be a donation or illegal campaign spending, leading to allegations of election fraud. A demonstration that runs the risk of “confounding some jurors,” said John Coffey, a law professor at Columbia University.

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What are the jurors’ preferences?

Jurors must unanimously decide guilty or not guilty.

Yet another scenario is possible: 12 jurors could come to a dissenting conclusion. The impeachment could be overturned and Donald Trump would win. But that will be temporary, as another trial will be scheduled unless the Manhattan attorney’s office drops the charges. It remains to be seen whether this new test will take place before the November 5 presidential election.

US law requires that jurors be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a criminal defendant. So all the defense needs is a jury that refuses to convict Donald Trump in order to give itself a win or a reprieve. Answers to questions were scrutinized by 12 jurors and an audience during the selection. One of them cited Donald Trump’s social media site, Truth Social, among the media he visited.

But in the Democratic stronghold of New York, everyone vowed to judge America’s 45th president impartially.

What is the punishment?

If Donald Trump is found guilty, Judge Juan Mercant will determine the sentence in a few weeks. While prison is theoretically possible, falsifying accounting documents is punishable by up to 4 years in New York State. But facing a first-time offender who is about to celebrate his 78th birthday, the magistrate can impose an alternative sentence, such as a suspended sentence with probation or community service. Financial penalties are also possible. In either case, he could appeal, which would probably have the effect of suspending the prison sentence.

For the first time in history, a US head of state will not be barred from running in the November 5 presidential election by a criminal conviction. But that would cause a political earthquake.

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It remains to be seen what effect this will have on Republican voters and undecided voters who will be crucial in the fight between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.