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Last-minute verdict left Trump stunned – Times of India

Last-minute verdict left Trump stunned

NEW YORK: History happened just as everyone was about to leave for the day. Judge Juan M. Merchan had already summoned Donald Trump, his legal team and prosecutors into the courtroom where the former prez has been on trial since mid-April. The judge said he planned to send the jury home in a few minutes – at 4.30pm (local time) – with deliberations to resume the next morning.
Trump looked upbeat, having animated chats with his lawyers. Then, unexpectedly, the judge was back on the bench. There was a note from the jury, signed at 4.20pm. Merchan read it aloud. “We the jury have reached a verdict,” it said, and asked for an extra 30 minutes.
As the minutes ticked by, defence lawyer Todd Blanche whispered to Trump, who was stone-faced, arms crossed across his chest. The courtroom was packed with people, among them reporters, members of the public and Trump’s son Eric.
Just before 5pm, the judge returned to the bench. Then, the moment came. The courtroom was silent. “How say you to the first count of the indictment, charging Donald J. Trump with falsifying business records in the first degree?” a court staffer asked. “Guilty,” the foreperson said. The same answer, “guilty”, came again and again. The recitation took less than two minutes. Trump, convicted of all 34 felony counts, was seen sitting with an expressionless stare. He stood as jurors filtered out of the courtroom, appearing to be looking at them one by one as they passed in front of him. As the ex-president walked out, Eric put a hand on his back. Then, Trump turned to the cameras awaiting him in the hallway and said, “I’m a very innocent man”. “We’ll fight to the end, and we’ll win.”

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