Trump will try to turn his guilty verdict into campaign fuel

 Former Olympian and reality television star Caitlyn Jenner called it “outrageous.”

Former “Saturday Night Live” star Rob Schneider urged Americans to refrain from violence.

And “Star Wars” legend Mark Hamill just posted the word “Guilty” — 34 times.

The reactions posted on social media pages Thursday were, of course, to the biggest news in years: Former President Trump was found guilty of 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records in New York. There was a time when it was considered bad form for Hollywood celebrities to take a stand on polarizing political issues or politicians for fear it could harm their movie or television careers.

Trump’s conviction shows that some stars have no qualms about making their opinions known on what many considered the most divisive politician in years.

Jenner, a reality television star, fired off a response Thursday in all capital letters on X: “VERDICT REACHED!!! DONALD J. TRUMP IS BEING PERSECUTED BY THE CORRUPT STATE OF NY AND COMPROMISED DOJ!

That was minutes before the guilty verdict was rendered.

Jenner, a former California Republican gubernatorial candidate, followed by subtweeting “An outrageous day for America. The entire process has been outrageous, of course. Shame on the state of New York. Shame on the corrupt DOJ.”

Schneider, who starred in such movies as “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” and “The Hot Chick,” called for vengeance in the immediate aftermath of the verdict but not for violence.

Comedian Rob Schneider appears on "Jesse Watters Primetime"
Comedian Rob Schneider called for vengeance in the immediate aftermath of the Trump verdict but not for violence.
(Andy Kropa / Andy Kropa/invision/ap)

“Now the Republicans will have to retaliate against Democrats when they regain power,” he tweeted. “I appeal to ALL AMERICANS TO REFRAIN FROM VIOLENCE.”

Shortly after that tweet, however, Schneider railed against California politics and also wondered why God hadn’t destroyed the state. Schneider has paid for his political activism in the past, including when he lost a State Farm ad campaign for his stance against childhood vaccinations.

Some celebrities just wanted to document the moment without taking a side.

Actress and musician Sheryl Lee Ralph tweeted about the conviction and said “A cheer has erupted from Collect Pond Park,” which sits across the street from the New York County Criminal Court, where Trump was tried.

Others, however, relished a moment they felt was a long time coming.

Comedian Kathy Griffin famously saw her career stall after posting a photo of a bloody and decapitated head of Trump in 2017.

First, Griffin said she couldn’t take the suspense and was “praying so hard for a guilty verdict.” Once the news hit, Griffin thanked Stormy Daniels, the adult entertainer and a key witness in the trial. Griffin also thanked fans who stuck with her through the backlash of 2017’s photos.

“It was awful and he is awful,” she tweeted along with “TEARS OF JOY” followed by a heart and crying emoji.

Hamill, Luke Skywalker of Star Wars lore, only tweeted one word, “Guilty,” in bold, red letters but he did it 34 times a reference to the 34 counts against Trump.

Mark Hamill, a cast member in "Child's Play," poses at the premiere of the film at the ArcLight Hollywood
Mark Hamill, of “Star Wars” lore, tweeted only one word, “Guilty,” in bold, red letters, but he did it 34 times as a reference to the 34 counts against Trump.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP)

Thursday presented a play-on-words opportunity for hit sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” co-creator and producer Craig Thomas.

The writer tweeted a series of posts displaying his happiness for the verdict, the first being of Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore, portrayed by the actor Ernie Hudson, shouting “I love this town,” in reference to New York City.

Thomas followed with tweets that said “How I Met Your Accountability,” “And that, kids, is how American democracy was saved,” and lastly, “And stay out. — NYC, to Trump.”

Horror author Stephen King, a vocal Trump critic, tweeted, “The Republican candidate for President is a convicted felon.”

Kevin Sorbo, an actor known for playing Hercules on the television series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” tweeted four words: “Still voting for Trump.”

Most of the hosts of the morning show “The View” — no strangers to political discussions — refrained from commenting on Twitter, including outspoken celebs Whoopi Goldberg, Sunny Hostin, and Sara Haines.

Alyssa Farah Griffin, Trump’s former White House director of strategic communications, tweeted, “Wild: a felon wouldn’t be eligible for the Top Secret security clearance required to work as staff in the West Wing. But the POTUS can be a convicted felon & receive much higher classified info.”

Longtime host Joy Behar, who once called Trump the “most dangerous” president in her lifetime, did not make a statement. She did, however, retweet King.

Americans across the country reacted to the stunning conviction Thursday of Donald Trump in his landmark criminal trial in New York, as he became the first former U.S. president and presumptive major party nominee to be found guilty of a crime.

The verdict has potentially massive political and societal implications with the presidential election just over five months away, or it could be greeted with a shrug by the American public. Those who talked to Fox News Digital on Thursday offered a range of reactions, from outrage to indifference to glee that Trump had been convicted, as well as divergent predictions on how it would affect the 2024 election.

Trump was found guilty of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Daniels said she had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006 which the former president denies, and the jury found Trump falsified 34 business documents to conceal a hush money payment to Daniels before the 2016 election.

Aaron, speaking in Birmingham, Mich., told Fox News Digital the verdict was "absolutely insane" and made him more inclined to vote for Trump and donate to his campaign.

Donald Trump arrives to Trump Tower after being found guilty

Donald Trump arrives to Trump Tower, Thursday, May 30, 2024 after being found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. (Felipe Ramales for Fox News Digital)

"It's election interference," he said. "We have a frontrunner in all the polls. He's actually beating Biden, and they've gone after Trump in multiple states."

Chase, also from Birmingham, Mich., said the verdict was a "complete failure of our justice system."

"I think it makes Trump stronger with his base," he added.

Outside the courthouse in Manhattan, a Trump supporter who said he was a native New Yorker called the verdict "despicable."

"[Trump] may be guilty there," he said, pointing to the courthouse, "but not in the eyes of the real New Yorker. We support him. He's going to be our president."

Angel, a New Yorker who was at the courthouse, said he was "shocked" by the verdict but "not shocked" that he wouldn't spend time in prison, although Trump hasn't been sentenced yet and will likely appeal the conviction.

He told Fox News Digital the guilty verdict would "of course" help Trump by strengthening his base.

Michael, from Staten Island, N.Y., praised the verdict and wouldn't comment on the political consequences of the conviction.

"I think it's the right verdict," he said. "I think it shows that our system of justice works, whether you're rich or you're poor … it's a jury of his peers, and I think it's a great result for New York and for America."

"To me today is about justice, it's not about politics," he added. "People are trying to make this case about politics, but it's not a political case. It's about the law and how it should be applied."

Tom, speaking from Whatcom County in northwest Washington state, took a moment to process the news before saying he wasn't surprised.

"I think there are other indictments, counts, that are going to also return a similar verdict, but it's a real shame that this country had that kind of person in the White House," he told Fox News Digital.

"I think character still matters to people, and I would hope that this will maybe open a few eyes and help people to see that maybe there should be a different candidate on that side of the equation," he added.

In Clovis, Calif., Cora told Fox News Digital that she wasn't surprised by the outcome because it was "a political trial from the beginning all the way to the end." She hasn't changed her mind about supporting Trump in November.

"I knew his faults going in, and I know his pluses going in, and the pluses way outweigh the faults," she said, adding, "I will tell anybody else that I talk to that he is the one to vote for."

Eric, also in Clovis, said the conviction made him feel like he lived in a "banana republic."

"Is that how we find justice? We go looking for a crime as opposed to something real going on? I think these are trumped-up charges," he said, going on to call out key witness Michael Cohen's credibility. "This should scare everybody."


Nate, a native of Nashville, Tenn., speaking in Washington, also said he wasn't surprised by the verdict.

"I can't say I'm surprised," he told Fox News Digital. "I haven't, to be honest, been following the trial that much. I will say, just kind of knowing the Trump presidency and how that's played out over time, I do feel like it's probably not going to influence a lot of people who already decided to vote for Trump and a lot of people who already decided to vote for Biden. I feel like he's been in and out of legal stuff his whole presidency, so I don't know how this is going to be any different. But it seems to be pretty big news."

Steve, in Chicago, Ill., said the conviction was the "best news" he'd heard in a long time, but he was skeptical of whether the verdict would affect the race.

"It seems like people are ignoring all reality and sticking with this man, so I don't know. I would hope that it'll make people open their eyes a bit and realize what a kook he is," he said. "He's a sleazebag."

"He obviously was guilty," Jack, another Chicagoan, said.

Denise, a native of the Chicago suburbs, told Fox News Digital she was surprised by the conviction given Trump's ability to wriggle out of jams in the past.

"I am so surprised because normally he seems to get out of things," she said. "He gets around it. He somehow finagles, and it works out for him, but this is maybe a testament that if you do wrong, it will catch up to you."

Denise, in Chicago, said she was surprised by Trump's conviction given his ability to get out of trouble in the past. (Fox News Digital)

She's not supporting Trump but predicted he would be re-elected, saying the trial wouldn't have an effect on the outcome.

"I won't vote for him, but I think he will win," she said. "I don't think it will have any impact, because people, they're going to vote for who they want to vote for, and if they think he's the guy that they want to be in office, they're going to vote for him, no matter what."

Jay, a native of Peoria, Ill., said "If you commit a crime, you go to jail for it." He predicted that the conviction would hurt Trump's chances in November.

"It's going to be interesting because something like this has never happened before. I think he may not be elected because of it," he said.

Jimmy, from the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield, Mich., said the verdict was "unacceptable" and called on the former president to appeal.

"This is just an accounting issue, not a criminal [one]," he said. "This is all about the campaign, all about the election."

Trump continued to deny wrongdoing after his conviction, called the case "rigged" and "disgraceful," and said the true verdict would be rendered by the American people in November. Trump, who has clinched the 2024 Republican nomination, is now running for president as a convicted felon, and his other pending legal cases will continue to hang over the race as he tries to unseat President Biden. 

 Being convicted of a felony — let alone 34 of them – is the kind of blow that would normally tank any politician’s ambitions.

Donald Trump will instead try to turn what might otherwise be a career-ending judgment into campaign fuel.

Trump will return to the campaign trail Friday with a news conference at his namesake tower in Manhattan a day after he was convicted of trying to illegally influence the 2016 election through a hush money payment to a porn actor who claimed they had sex. His lawyers and allies described him as defiant and ready to fight a verdict they argue is illegitimate and driven by politics.

No former president or presumptive party nominee has ever faced a felony conviction or the prospect of prison time, and Trump is expected to keep his legal troubles central to his campaign. He has long argued without evidence that the four indictments against him were orchestrated by Democratic President Joe Biden to try to keep him out of the White House.

“There is nobody who is more defiant,” said Trump spokesman Jason Miller on Fox News hours after the verdict was read. “He’s ready to get out there and start fighting again.”

Trump and his campaign had been preparing for a guilty verdict for days, even as they held out hope for a hung jury. On Tuesday, Trump railed that not even Mother Teresa, the nun and saint, could beat the charges, which he repeatedly labeled as “rigged.

His top aides on Wednesday released a memo in which they insisted a verdict would have no impact on the election, whether Trump was convicted or acquitted.

The news nonetheless landed with a jolt. Trump, his team, and reporters at the courthouse had been under the impression that the jury on Thursday would wrap up deliberations for the day at 4:30 p.m. Trump sat smiling and chatting with his lawyers as the proceedings seemed to be coming to a close.

Trump had spent the hours before the verdict was announced sequestered in the private courtroom where he had spent breaks throughout the trial, huddled with his attorneys and campaign aides, eating from a revolving lunch menu of McDonald’s, pizza, and subs.

As the jury was deciding his fate, he filled his time making calls, firing off social media missives, and chatting with friends, including developer Steve Witkoff, who joined him in court, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who is considered a top vice presidential contender.

In a sign that they expected deliberations to continue, Trump’s holding room was outfitted with a television Thursday, according to two people familiar with the setup who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the case.

Instead, Merchan announced that a verdict had been reached. Thirty minutes later, Trump listened as the jury delivered a guilty verdict on every count. Trump sat stone-faced while the verdict was read.

His campaign fired off a flurry of fundraising appeals, and GOP allies rallied to his side. One text message called him a “political prisoner,” even though he hasn’t yet found out if he will be sentenced to prison. The campaign also began selling black “Make America Great Again” caps to reflect a “dark day in history.”

Aides reported an immediate rush of contributions so intense that WinRed, the platform the campaign uses for fundraising, crashed.

Trump campaign spokesman Brian Hughes cited the outpouring as a sign “that Americans have seen this sham trial as the political election interference that Biden and Democrats have always intended.”

“November 5th,” he said, echoing Trump, “is the day Americans will deliver the real verdict!”

Trump has long complained that the trial limited his campaign appearances for several weeks. “I want to campaign,” he had told reporters Thursday morning before a verdict was reached.

It is unclear, however, how much Trump’s schedule will ramp up in the days ahead. He held only a handful of public campaign events as the trial unfolded, even though he had Wednesdays, as well as evenings and weekends, to do what he wished.

He’s set in the upcoming two months to have his first debate with Biden, announce a running mate, and formally accept his party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention.

But before he goes to Milwaukee for the RNC, Trump will have to return to court on July 11 for sentencing. He could face penalties ranging from a fine or probation to up to four years in prison.

 Donald Trump may be convicted of a felony and reside in Florida, a state notorious for restricting the voting rights of people with felony convictions. But he can still vote as long as he stays out of prison in New York state.

That’s because Florida defers to other states’ disenfranchisement rules for residents convicted of out-of-state felonies. In Trump’s case, New York law only removes the right to vote for people convicted of felonies when they’re incarcerated. Once they’re out of prison, their rights are automatically restored, even if they’re on parole, per a 2021 law passed by the state’s Democratic legislature.

“If a Floridian’s voting rights are restored in the state of conviction, they are restored under Florida law,” Blair Bowie of the Campaign Legal Center wrote in a post, noting that people without Trump’s legal resources are often confused by Florida’s complex rules.

So as long as Trump isn’t sent to prison, he can vote for himself in Florida in November’s election.

“His rights depend on his sentencing,” wrote Michael McDonald, a University of Florida political scientist who’s tracked his state’s felony disenfranchisement rules, on the social media site X, formerly Twitter.

Trump was convicted Thursday of falsifying business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to a porn actor who said the two had sex.

A lifelong New Yorker, Trump established residency in Florida in 2019, while he was in the White House.

Even if he is elected president again, Trump will not be able to pardon himself of state charges in New York. The president’s pardon power applies only to federal crimes.

The conviction, and even imprisonment, would not bar Trump from continuing his pursuit of the White House. The Republican National Convention, which will open four days after his July 11 sentencing date in New York, adopted rules last year that didn’t include any specific provisions if its presumptive nominee is convicted of a crime.

Delegates could move to change their rules before formalizing Trump’s nomination, but there’s no evidence that a significant faction of the party would try to replace the former president on the GOP ticket. Trump commands loyalty across the GOP base, and the Republican National Committee is run by his loyalists, including his daughter-in-law Lara Trump as co-chair.

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