Trump Will Appeal: Live Updates

On Friday morning, Trump gave his first press conference in the aftermath of his 34-count conviction by a Manhattan jury. “This is a case where if they can do this to me, they can do this to anyone,” he began, and it was off to the races from there.

In typically winding and free-wheeling remarks, Trump continued his trend of railing against Judge Juan Merchan and Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, painting the six-week trial against him as “unfair.” “This is a scam. This is a rigged trial,” he said. “It shouldn’t have been in that venue. We shouldn’t have had that judge.”

Trump acknowledged that he was still officially under a gag order that bars him from disparaging witnesses, but still made clear references to his former attorney Michael Cohen who testified for the prosecution, calling him a “sleazebag” and laying all responsibility for any legal issues at his feet. Trump was previously found to have violated the gag order ten times with Merchan threatening to institute jail time for any future infractions.

The former president also seemed to imply that his ultimate decision not to testify was based on concerns that, had he taken the stand, he would’ve been found guilty of perjury. “The theory is you never testify. If it were George Washington, don’t testify because they’ll get you on something that you said slightly wrong and then they sue you for perjury,” Trump said.

At first, Trump focused on his trial result, but he eventually went fully into a standard campaign stump speech, lashing out at Biden over immigration and crime. Though Trump tried to project an air of confidence despite the conviction, it appeared to slip in one moment as he spoke about Allen Weisselberg, the former CFO of the Trump Organization. He talked about how Weisselberg’s life was “destroyed” after he was jailed following the fraud trial against the company, noting their similar ages.

“Nobody ever says that about me. I’d like them to say, ‘Gee, we have to have a little sorrow for this man’ because they just don’t say that about me,” he said. “But maybe I’m better off that way.”

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