Watch CBS News

Fact checking Trump's remarks after historic conviction in "hush money" trial

Trump conviction: Implications for 2024 race
Could Trump go to prison? Can he still be president? What to know after verdict 12:39

Former President Donald Trump's Manhattan criminal trial concluded Thursday with a historic conviction, and in remarks in New York on Friday morning, Trump continued to repeat false or misleading claims that framed the legal verdict as a partisan political attack. 

CBS News fact checked four of Trump's claims about his trial on Friday morning. 

President Trump Holds A Press Conference At Trump Tower Day After Guilty Verdict
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a news conference at Trump Tower following the verdict in his hush-money trial at Trump Tower on May 31, 2024, in New York City.  Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Claim 1: "This is all done by Biden and his people."

Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed President Biden was behind the criminal trial in Manhattan: "They are in total conjunction with the White House and the DOJ, just so you understand," Trump said Friday morning a day after his conviction. "This is all done by Biden and his people." 

What we know

This claim is false. Mr. Biden had no direct influence or power over the attorneys or the judge involved in this case. Further, the case was not brought by the U.S. Department of Justice. It was brought by the Manhattan district attorney's office. The trial did not take place in federal court, but rather within the court system in New York. 

Claim 2: "Now I'm under a gag order, which nobody has ever been under. No presidential candidate has ever been under a gag order before."

On Friday, Trump said he is still under a gag order from Justice Juan Merchan, echoing what his lawyer, Todd Blanche, said on Fox News on Thursday.  

What we know: 

CBS News legal contributor Jessica Levinson said Merchan hadn't yet lifted the gag order, as of Friday, the day after Trump's conviction. Separately, Reuters reported he "will likely lift" the order.

Merchan gag order originally only prohibited Trump from speaking about witnesses and court staff, but it was expanded  on April 1 to prohibit Trump from speaking about Bragg's family and Merchan's family after Trump repeatedly invoked Justice Merchan's daughter on social media. Merchan said the order was necessary because some of Trump's rhetoric might keep jurors, lawyers and court employees from performing their duties in the court. 

Trump is allowed to criticize Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and Merchan. The former president can also speak on the specifics of the case that he finds fault with or claim the entire trial is political if he wishes. 

So far, Trump has violated his gag order 10 times, and was fined a total of $10,000. 

Claim 3: "We just went through one of many experiences where we had a conflicted judge, highly conflicted. There's never been a more conflicted judge."

Trump attacked the impartiality of Judge Merchan, who oversaw the case, calling him "conflicted" at least seven times on Friday. Previously, he also claimed Merchan's daughter worked with top Democrats.

What we know:

This is an exaggeration by Trump.

Justice Merchan, who was randomly assigned to this case, made $35 in political contributions to Democrats through ActBlue in 2020, including $15 to Mr. Biden's campaign. Loren Merchan, the judge's daughter, has worked with some top Democrats through her role at a marketing company called Authentic Campaigns.

In 2023, Merchan asked the New York Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics to decide whether this amounted to a conflict. The panel issued a caution to Merchan because political contributions of any kind are prohibited under state judicial ethics rules. But they ruled Merchan's ability to do his job was not impacted.

Merchan therefore denied Trump's request that he recuse himself — a decision that a separate panel of judges from the New York Appellate Division recently upheld.

Claim 4: "When Bragg came in, he said 'this is the most ridiculous case I've ever seen…' When I announced I was running for president a long time later, they decided to revive this case."

Trump has repeatedly attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who brought the "hush money" case to trial. During his remarks Friday, Trump claimed that Bragg did not intend to pursue a case against him until after he'd announced his election.

What we know: 

This claim is false.

Alvin Bragg took office in January of 2022 and inherited the case from a previous prosecutor, Cyrus Vance Jr. The New York Times reported that Bragg was confident by the summer of 2022 that he was moving forward with an indictment and that he could convince a court that felony charges for falsifying business records in this case were warranted. It wasn't until the fall of 2022 that Trump announced he was running again.  

Bragg has repeatedly been a target of Trump before and during the trial. CBS News found Trump made or amplified this claim that billionaire investor George Soros donated to Alvin Bragg at least 54 times on Truth Social, including the day the verdict came in when Trump called Bragg "Soros-backed" in a post.

While it is true that Soros donated $1 million in May 2021 to a progressive racial justice group called Color of Change, and the political arm of the group later endorsed Bragg, a spokesman for Soros told the New York Times that the two men had never met — nor had Soros given money directly to Bragg's campaign.

Alan He and Paulina Smolinksi contributed to this report. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.