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Trump, Biden head for election battle after guilty verdict

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Former President Donald Trump lost in the courtroom Thursday, but Trump and his rival, President Joe Biden, are looking ahead to the November election.

A jury convicted Trump of 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments to an adult actress before the 2016 election. That conviction makes Trump the first former president to be convicted of a crime and could shape the presidential election.

After the guilty verdict, Trump said he was focused on the election.

“The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5, by the people,” Trump said after leaving the Manhattan courtroom.

The White House didn’t comment on the verdict, but Biden’s campaign said the real battle was in November.

“There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box,” a campaign spokesperson wrote in a statement. “Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.”

Thursday’s verdict ended Trump’s criminal trial, but the legal process will continue. Judge Juan Merchan scheduled a sentencing hearing for July 11.

Before the hearing, defense attorneys and prosecutors will submit sentencing recommendations to the judge.

Under New York state law, falsifying business records in the first degree is a Class E felony with a maximum sentence of four years in prison.

Trump, 77, is a first-time offender, but that doesn’t preclude a jail or prison sentence.

The conviction won’t affect Trump’s ability to campaign for president.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who campaigned for his position on targeting Trump, declined to provide details when asked what sentence prosecutors would recommend. He said Thursday those details would come in future court filings.

Trump is expected to appeal the verdict and could ask that any sentence be postponed during the appeal process.

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