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Virginia Republicans, Democrats divided over Trump verdict

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(The Center Square) — The jury announced its verdict in former President Donald Trump’s New York hush money trial Thursday evening, and social media was set ablaze.

Trump was found guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records that could have been harmful to his 2016 presidential campaign.

Many of the commonwealth’s prominent government officials and elected representatives took to X, formerly Twitter, joining the chorus of voices weighing in on the verdict.

Most Republicans expressed distrust of the trial and its outcome, including Attorney General Jason Miyares.

Miyares blasted the trial as an illegitimate attempt at eliminating a powerful political opponent, reminding spectators of the case’s beginnings – when formidable American institutions declined to bring charges against Trump.

“In America, we don’t seek to jail political opponents – we seek to defeat them at the ballot box,” Miyares wrote. “To be clear, the FEC declined to prosecute this case. The US Attorneys Office declined to prosecute this case.”

He went on to take shots at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, lead attorney for the prosecution.

“This case was moved forward by a far-left prosecutor who regularly refuses to prosecute violent criminals but chose to move forward because the defendant was named Donald Trump.”

Despite his criticisms, Miyares still conveyed faith in the American justice system and the possibility of another outcome.

“America has the greatest justice system in the world – and that is partly because it has a robust appeals process. There is broad consensus that this case is riddled with potential reversible errors and should be appealed in an expedited manner and resolved as quickly as possible,” Miyares said.

Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears echoed Miyares’ sentiments while questioning why Hillary Clinton and President Joe Biden haven’t been subject to similar legal battles.

“We know that the case was brought by a man bent on destroying another. This was not about justice – this was a mockery of justice,” Sears wrote.

“Where was the case against Hilary for ‘wiping’ her server? Where is the case against Pres Biden to determine his involvement in Hunter Biden’s business dealing with China and Russia?”

But Sears ultimately took the same hopeful note that Miyares did, turning to the appeals process.

“So the president will appeal and we will pray that righteousness and justice will prevail,” Sears said.

Though Gov. Glenn Youngkin did not comment on X by the time of publication, the Democratic candidate for governor for 2025, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7, did.

“We are a country of laws. Today, our justice system held someone accountable for his crimes,” Spanberger said, challenging her peers to trust the legal process and accept the verdict.

“In the wake of this verdict, responsible lawmakers must lead by example and not deny the truth or stoke anger. We must demonstrate principled leadership and uphold the rule of law,” she wrote.

Rep. Don Beyer, D-8, delivered a slightly more measured response.

“It is tragic that an American president has been convicted of crimes, but Donald Trump is responsible for his own actions. If a jury finds those actions were criminal after due process in a court of law, he must be held accountable. In the United States no one is above the law,” Beyer wrote.

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