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New York politicians cheer, jeer, Trump’s guilty verdict

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New York’s political class reacted with a mix of outrage and jubilation over the conviction of former President Donald Trump on bribery charges, with Republicans criticizing the verdict and Democrats praising it.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee in November’s presidential election, was found guilty Thursday on 34 counts of felony charges of falsifying business records in his New York City criminal hush-money trial. The verdict makes him the first former U.S. president in the nation’s history to be convicted of a crime.

Not surprisingly, New York politicians were sharply divided along party lines in their reaction to the unprecedented verdict.

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a potential vice presidential pick for Trump, said the jury’s verdict “shows how corrupt, rigged, and unAmerican the weaponized justice system has become under Joe Biden and Democrats.”

“The facts are clear: this was a zombie case illegally brought forward by a corrupt prosecutor doing Joe Biden’s political bidding in a desperate attempt to save Joe Biden’s failing campaign,” she said in a statement. “The case hinged on the testimony of a convicted felon who was disbarred for lying and perjured himself when he lied to Congress.”

Stefanik blasted the proceedings as a “sham trial was overseen by a corrupt and highly unethical Judge who is a Biden donor and whose own family has directly profited from this case.”

“This corrupt Democrat Judge routinely sided with the prosecution and prevented President Trump’s defense from calling a critical witness to the stand,” she said. “I fully support President Trump appealing this decision and look forward to a higher New York Court to deliver justice and overturn this verdict.”

Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., said the verdict was “a complete but sadly unsurprising miscarriage of justice, and we knew all along that in the borough of Manhattan, where more than 86% of the population rejected President Trump, that he would not have a fair trial of his peers.”

“What Alvin Bragg and the Democrats have accused President Trump of doing in 2016 — conspiring to promote or prevent the election of a person to public office by unlawful means — is exactly what the Democrats themselves have done with this political prosecution,” she said in a statement.

“They concocted and conspired this entire witch-hunt and weaponized our judicial system to interfere with the election and prevent President Trump from being reelected in November,” she added.

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., called it a “sad day for America” and said the prosecution of the former president “on what amounts to a campaign finance violation” should “frighten every New Yorker, no matter which party you belong to or who you support for president.”

But Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., who oversaw Trump’s 2021 House impeachment trial, said the verdict shows that the former president “is unfit to serve in any elected office, let alone President of the United States.”

“As I have said from the beginning of this trial, no one is above the law—not even a former President,” Nadler posted on social media. “Donald Trump has now been justly convicted of election interference by a jury of his peers and can no longer escape the consequences of his actions.”

New York Attorney General Leticia James, a Democrat who led a civil fraud case against Trump that resulted in him being found liable for hundreds of millions of dollars, posted on social media that “no one is above the law.”

Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., who served as the House’s lead attorney in Trump’s impeachment inquiry also weighed in on the verdict.

“Our tried and true democratic justice system is rooted in the Constitution and requires that an impartial jury of 12 citizens consider only the facts, evidence, and law in determining guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Goldman. “The same rules apply to Donald Trump. No one is above the law.”

However, New York Conservative Party Chairman Gerard Kassar called Trump’s prosecution a “travesty of Justice” but predicted it would have “no bearing” on the outcome of the November elections.

“President Trump’s supporters have known since the beginning that this was nothing but a partisan show trial,” he said in a statement. “Onward to November.”