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Hochul urged to pardon Trumps New York conviction

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is being urged by politicians on both sides of the political aisle to pardon former President Donald Trump after his conviction last week in the hush money trial.

A Manhattan jury convicted Trump on Thursday of all 34 felony charges of falsifying business documents to cover up alleged hush money payments to Stormy Daniels. Trump, now the first U.S. president to be convicted of a felony, plans to appeal the verdict. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee denies any wrongdoing and claims the prosecution is politically motivated.

However, because the case was tried in a state court, not federal, Hochul is the only official who can pardon Trump from the conviction. Even if Trump is elected president in November, he would have no authority over the New York courts to grant himself a pardon.

New York Congressman Nick LaLota, a Long Island Republican, was among the first to call on Hochul to pardon Trump shortly after the verdict was announced.

“The best way to unwind Alvin Bragg’s political prosecution and today’s conviction is for Governor Hochul to immediately announce her intention to pardon President Trump and pre-emptively commute any sentence,” LaLota wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “To not do so is to allow America to become a banana republic.”

LaLota said Trump’s fate and the 2024 presidential election “should be decided by voters, not overzealous politically motivated prosecutors and an imbalanced jury.”

But the calls on Hochul to grant a pardon aren’t just coming from Republicans.

Over the weekend, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips — a Democrat who ran against Biden in the recent Democratic primaries — took to social media to call on Hochul to pardon Trump “for the good of the country.”

“You think pardoning is stupid?” Phillips posted on X. “Making him a martyr over a payment to a porn star is stupid. (Election charges are entirely different.) It’s energizing his base, generating record sums of campaign cash, and will likely result in an electoral boost.”

Regardless of their motivation, the pleas for clemency don’t appear to be winning much traction with Hochul, who issued a statement shortly after the conviction expressing her view that the verdict was just, signaling that she is unlikely to wield her executive powers to pardon Trump.

“Today’s verdict reaffirms that no one is above the law,” Hochul said in a Thursday statement.

Mary Trump, the former president’s estranged niece, chimed in on Phillips’ pardon suggestion in a social media post: “Remember former presidential candidate Dean Phillips? Neither do I, but his untreated megalomania forces him to keep reminding us he exists. Now he’s in the news because he thinks Donald should be pardoned which is how we know it’s an absolutely terrible idea.”

“I’m sure we’ll be talking about this in the coming days — not Dean Phillips obviously, but the insanity of pardoning a convicted criminal who’s trying to destroy America,” Mary Trump added in another post.