Turley Says He Is ‘Saddened’ By Guilty Verdict, Suggests Case Drove Major Wedge In American Legal System

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said he is “saddened” by the conviction of former President Donald Trump, which he said drove a wedge in the American legal system.

The jury found Trump guilty on all 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 hush money payment to former porn actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The former president, now a convicted felon, is set to be sentenced during a July 11 hearing in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case.

Turley said he held hope the jury would uphold the legacy of the American legal system while expressing disagreement with the verdict. (RELATED: ‘RIGGED: Death Of The American Voter’ — Stream Now)

“I was saddened to watch it. I disagree with this verdict,” Turley said. “I’ve said before that this case was legally unfounded. When they were reading those guilty verdicts, the one thing that we didn’t know is really what he was found guilty of, because you have to remember that the judge allowed the jury to find guilt on any one of three secondary crimes. We weren’t told whether the jury found any of those crimes, whether they found all three of those crimes. I’m not too sure we will know that. That’s one of the many issues that I think presents irreversible problems in this case.”

New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan instructed the jury must consider three crimes to consider as “unlawful” means: either a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), the falsification of other business records or violations of tax fraud. He further said the jurors did not need to agree on the “unlawful” means prosecutors allege Trump used to influence the 2016 election. (RELATED: Andy McCarthy Says Prolonged Jury Deliberations Spells Good News For Bragg Trial Defense) 

Trump expected a guilty verdict Wednesday, telling reporters Mother Teresa could not beat these charges.

Turley further noted this particular case “embodied the weaponization of the legal system” to hurt Trump’s chances in the 2024 election. He said the said “deeply flawed case” created a negative precedent for the historically well-respected legal system in New York.

“I will tell you the reason I was sad in there was not for the former president, it was for the New York legal system. I’ve written, as many of us have, that this is a deeply flawed case. It’s wrong,” he added. “And this is a great legal system. I’m not a New York bar member, I’m out in DC. But I have a huge amount of respect for this system. It’s helped define the law in this country. Legal history was made here right on this block, I’m looking at two courthouses where legendary cases were handed down. It’s part of our DNA as lawyers.”

“So for many of us, it is a sad moment because we were hoping this jury would redeem a bit of integrity. It did not,” he continued.

Turley directed blame toward the judge, who increased the likelihood of a conviction through his unusual instructions, which made it highly difficult to acquit. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy McCarthy accused the judge of “colluding with prosecutors” due to these instructions.

To indict Trump on the falsification of business records, Bragg had to claim the records were falsified to conceal or commit another crime — which remained unclear throughout the trial but was assumed to be either a campaign finance or election law violation. It is currently unclear which “unlawful” means the jury found Trump guilty of.

The defense cornered the prosecution’s witnesses, particularly their key witness Michael Cohen, an admitted liar who testified to having stolen $60,000 from the Trump Organization and committed what the defense argued was another act of perjury.