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1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts in his criminal trial. Credit: Abhiram Juvvadi

1968 Wharton graduate Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts Thursday evening, marking the first time a former president has been found guilty of a crime.

The 34 charges — for falsifying business records — are related to a hush-money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

The jury reached its verdict near the end of its second day of deliberations. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential election, now faces a sentence ranging from probation to four years in prison. Juan Merchan, the judge who is presiding over the case, is expected to announce Trump’s sentence on July 11.

Most legal experts believe that Trump is unlikely to be sentenced to time in prison, according to the BBC. Trump is also widely expected to appeal the verdict.

“This was a disgrace,” Trump said to reporters outside the courtroom. “This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt.”

Trump's case centered around a $130,000 payment made to Daniels in 2016 in exchange for the signing of a nondisclosure agreement to prevent her from publicly discussing details of a 2006 sexual encounter with Trump. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer, made the payment to Daniels and was reimbursed by Trump. The jury concluded that Trump hid the nature of the reimbursement.

In 2018, Cohen pled guilty to several criminal counts related to the hush-money deal, implicating Trump in the process. Cohen, who was called as a witness for the prosecution, testified in the trial before being cross-examined for several days by Trump’s legal team. Much of Trump’s defense was predicated on casting doubt upon Cohen’s reliability as a witness.

Near the close of the first day of deliberations, the 12 jurors sent a note to Merchan asking to rehear portions of the testimony elicited by Cohen and David Pecker, the former publisher of The National Enquirer. The jurors also asked Merchan to repeat portions of his instructions to the jury — some of which were hotly contested by the two legal teams.

Trump is expected to face off against former Penn professor and incumbent President Joe Biden in the presidential election later this fall.

Trump is also currently facing three other criminal trials. Two are federal trials in Florida and Washington, D.C., and one is a state-level trial in Georgia.