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    Former President Trump’s guilty verdict elicits strong reactions from Southern California lawmakers
    • May 30, 2024

    Democrats praised the country’s legal system. Republicans marked Thursday as “a shameful day in American history.”

    Former President Donald Trump’s guilty verdict — on all 34 felony charges in his hush money trial — makes him the first former or sitting president ever convicted of a crime.

    “Despite his efforts to distract, delay and deny, justice arrived for Donald Trump all the same,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democratic contender for U.S. Senate in California.

    Schiff, who gained national attention for his role in the House’s efforts to impeach Trump while he was president, said on social media: “And the rule of law prevailed.”

    “Today, our legal system worked as intended,” said Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena.

    “A jury of Trump’s peers, everyday Americans, weighed evidence (and) found him guilty of falsifying business records to keep voters in the dark in 2016,” Chu said. “This goes to the heart of our justice system (and) our democracy: no one is above the law.”

    Republicans, however, defended Trump after the verdict was announced.

    Scott Baugh, the GOP candidate running in Rep. Katie Porter’s open 47th congressional district seat in Orange County, decried the verdict, characterizing it as “political prosecution.”

    “The verdict should surprise no one,” said Baugh. “A politically motivated prosecutor and a hostile judge set the trial up for so many prejudicial errors. President Trump will have his opportunity to appeal and I am confident that a fair hearing will expose and resolve these issues.”

    “Political prosecutions are on the rise. This must stop,” he added.

    House Speaker Mike Johnson called it a “shameful day in American history.”

    “Democrats cheered as they convicted the leader of the opposing party on ridiculous charges, predicated on the testimony of a disbarred, convicted felon,” said Johnson. “This was purely political.”

    Trump was charged with falsifying business records at his company in connection with a scheme to hide potentially embarrassing stories about him during his 2016 Republican presidential election campaign.

    Sentencing is set for July 11 — a little over one month after Trump is scheduled to be in Beverly Hills and Newport Beach to raise money for his campaign. It is unclear if the fundraisers will happen as planned, or if they will be postponed or canceled.

    The sentencing date — just four days before the Republican National Convention where the party officially picks its presidential nominee — allegedly shows the trial “has been marred by political bias since day one,” said Randall Avila, the executive director of the Republican Party of Orange County.

    “This is election interference plain and simple,” said Avila. “This verdict will rightfully go to appeal where normal order should be restored to restore not only justice but the broken confidence in our legal system.”

    Echoing something Trump said after the verdict was announced, Avila added: “The ultimate jury will be the American people on Nov. 5 when voters will judge the failed Biden administration.”

    Speaking to reporters after the verdict was read, Trump also called the trial “rigged” and a “disgrace.”

    But Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Long Beach, said, “No one, not even a former president, is above the law.”

    “This guilty verdict confirms what we have long known – Donald Trump is a con man and a criminal who has consistently exploited our country for his own personal gain,” Garcia said.

    Other reactions from lawmakers and candidates in Southern California:

    President Trump’s only “crime” is running against Joe Biden in 2024.
    The American people see right through this weaponization of the legal system.

    — Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) May 30, 2024

    Donald Trump’s corrupt practices have caught up with him.

    This is a sad day for America. But it’s a testament to our legal system that no one, even former presidents, is above the law.

    Read my full statement:

    — Rep. Linda Sánchez (@RepLindaSanchez) May 30, 2024

    How’s that chant go that he used to lead at rallies?

    — Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) May 30, 2024

    No one is above the law. Today’s verdict is a testament to that fundamental truth. As an Army veteran and officer of the court, I have dedicated my life to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States. @DonaldTrump was held accountable for his crimes today. This…

    — Derek Tran (@derektranCA45) May 30, 2024

    This is a reminder that no one is above the law, not even a former president.

    Trump received a fair trial. A jury of his peers—not his political opponents—weighed the evidence and believe there was enough to convict him.

    No grand conspiracy, only the truth: Trump is a criminal.

    — Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) May 30, 2024

    In America, no one is above the law: not the rich, not the powerful, and certainly not any former President of the United States.

    — Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) May 30, 2024

    I want to thank the jury members for doing their duty, despite being threatened every day by Trump and his supporters.

    Jury service and the right to a fair trial are two of the cornerstones of our free democracy.

    — Dave Min (davemin_ca on ) (@DaveMinCA) May 30, 2024

    Read CAGOP Chairwoman Jessica @MillanPatterson’s full statement on President Donald Trump’s verdict.

    — CAGOP (@CAGOP) May 30, 2024

    This is a breaking news story and will be updated with more reactions throughout the day.

    Staff writers Teresa Liu and Christina Merino and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

    ​ Orange County Register