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Trump says "we're going to fight" one day after conviction in "hush money" trial

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Biden rebukes Trump's response to New York conviction 05:09

Former President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that he is "going to fight" and appeal his felony conviction Thursday in a case stemming from a "hush money" payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The former president again referred to the New York trial as a "scam" and "a rigged trial." He also remarked on illegal immigration and the House select committee's investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

"I'm willing to do whatever I have to do to save our country and to save our Constitution. I don't mind," he said.

Trump praised donors who poured money into his campaign coffers in the wake of the guilty verdict. His campaign said earlier Friday that it raised $34.8 million from small-dollar donors.

He insisted he's "fighting for America," and encouraged people to go to his campaign's website.

A jury of 12 New Yorkers deliberated over two days to reach the verdict Thursday, finding that Trump illegally falsified business records to conceal a $130,000 payment made in the days before the 2016 election to adult film star Stormy Daniels to silence her account of a sexual encounter with him. Trump, who is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, has denied having sex with Daniels. 

The historic verdict makes Trump the first former president to be convicted of a crime. His sentencing is scheduled for July 11, just four days before the Republican National Convention, where he is expected to officially become the party's nominee

After the verdict was announced Thursday, Trump denounced it as a "disgrace" and declared himself "a very innocent man." 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Trump faked the business records "to conceal a scheme to corrupt the 2016 election," and he thanked the jury for their service. 

"Many voices out there. The only voice that matters is the voice of the jury, and the jury has spoken," Bragg said at a news conference after the verdict.


Melania Trump absent from Trump's court appearances

Former first lady Melania Trump was absent during Trump's post-conviction remarks Friday, and she was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read on Thursday. She did not attend her husband's earlier court proceedings, CBS News reporters noted. 

Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, was also absent during her father's trial. She posted an old photo of her with her father on Instagram Thursday night with the caption, "I love you dad." 

Trump's son, Eric Trump, was in the courtroom Thursday for the verdict, and he attended several days of the trial. After Justice Merchan excused the parties, Trump grabbed his son Eric's hand as he exited the courtroom. 

By Kathryn Watson

Trump takes no questions

Trump's remarks were originally billed as a press conference, but the former president took no questions once he finished speaking. 

By Melissa Quinn

"We're going to fight," Trump says

Echoing Todd Blanche's comments in television interviews, the former president told reporters that he plans to appeal his conviction and is "going to fight."

"A lot of people would've gone away a long time ago," Trump said.

He also praised the money raised in the hours after the 12-person jury handed down its verdict. Trump's campaign said earlier Friday that it raised $34.8 million from small-dollar donors.

The former president's comments veered into familiar territory, as he raised illegal immigration and the House select committee's investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

"I'm willing to do whatever I have to do to save our country and to save our Constitution. I don't mind," he said.

Trump insisted he's "fighting for America," and encouraged people to go to his campaign's website.

"We will continue the fight," he said, later adding that Nov. 5, Election Day, "is the most important day in the history of our country."

By Melissa Quinn

Trump continues to rip into Justice Juan Merchan

Speaking from Trump Tower less than 24 hours after he was convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, the former president repeated his criticisms of Justice Juan Merchan and Democrats.

"As far as the trial itself, it was very unfair," Trump told reporters.

The former president lamented that Merchan limited the testimony of an election law expert whom his team planned to question about federal campaign finance law and said some defense witnesses were "literally crucified."

"This is a scam. This is a rigged trial," Trump said. 

The former president denounced Merchan as "highly conflicted" and said he was denied a fair trial after his legal team's efforts to move proceedings from Manhattan to another venue were unsuccessful.

Trump told reporters that he had wanted to testify in his own defense, but was warned against doing so.

Trump's comments focused on his typical criticism of President Biden and Democrats' policies on immigration and the economy, and he raised oft-repeated grievances with Merchan.

The former president also denounced the gag order imposed on him, which he called "nasty." Trump was held in contempt of court for violating the restrictions 10 times.

By Melissa Quinn

Trump will appeal conviction, lawyer says

Trump told reporters after the jury handed down its verdict that he will "fight to the end," and his lawyer, Todd Blanche, reiterated in television interviews that they will appeal the conviction.

Speaking to CNN on Thursday night, Blanche said the timing of the trial was "really unfair" to Trump and raised the publicity around witnesses and the proceedings.

"Our system of justice isn't supposed to be a system where every person that walks in the courtroom knows about the case," Blanche said.

He said that the attention surrounding the trial "made it very difficult for the jury to evaluate the evidence kind of independent of what they knew coming in."

Blanche said the defense plans to raise those matters about the trial in motions due to Justice Juan Merchan, who oversaw the proceedings, as well as issues about Stormy Daniels' testimony.

"If that is not successful, then as soon as we can appeal, we will," he said.

Blanche told NBC's "Today" show on Friday morning that the verdict was expected.

"This is a step in the process of our justice system and the goal is to appeal quickly and hopefully be vindicated quickly," he said.

Blanche highlighted several matters he said are "meaningful" that Trump's legal team intends to raise on appeal: Whether Justice Juan Merchan should have recused himself from the case, the statute of limitations for the charges, background of why the case was brought, and the reliance on former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

By Melissa Quinn

Is Trump going to prison? What to know about the possible sentence after his conviction

Each of the 34 felony charges carries up to a $5,000 fine and four-year prison sentence. But whether Trump will go to prison is another question — one that's up to the judge at sentencing.

The judge set a July 11 date for sentencing following the jury's verdict on Thursday. 

The timing is in line with similar white-collar felony cases, where sentencing often takes place anywhere from three to eight weeks after conviction, according to Dan Horwitz, a defense lawyer who formerly prosecuted white-collar cases for the Manhattan district attorney's office.

The minimum sentence for falsifying business records in the first degree is zero, so Trump could receive probation or conditional discharge, a sentence of no jail or up to four years for each offense. Trump would likely be ordered to serve the prison time concurrently for each count, so up to four years, total. Read more here.

By Kaia Hubbard

Where Trump's 3 other criminal cases stand

Former President Donald Trump's conviction on all 34 state felony counts in New York may mark the close of the trial stage in the hush-money case, but a trio of prosecutions continue to loom over the former president and presumptive Republican presidential nominee. 

Trump is still facing charges in two cases brought in federal courts in South Florida and Washington, D.C., by special counsel Jack Smith and one prosecution in state court led by Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis. He is set to be sentenced in the New York case on July 11. 

By Melissa Quinn
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