In his first public appearance since his historic felony conviction, former President Donald Trump addressed a crowd in Phoenix, Arizona, where he vehemently criticized his recent trial as ‘rigged’ and politically motivated. Speaking at a town hall event organized by Turning Point on June 6, Trump implored the appellate courts to intervene. “Those appellate courts have to step up and straighten things out, or we’re not going to have a country anymore,” he declared, signaling his intentions to challenge the verdict that found him guilty on all 34 counts of fabricating business records related to the Manhattan hush-money/election interference case.

Trump, who was convicted on May 30, made history as the first U.S. President to be found guilty of a felony, according to the LA Times. He addressed his supporters by claiming there had been “no crime” and that he was wrongfully prosecuted by a 12-member jury. Further fueling his narrative of injustice, Trump reiterated his claims that the Democrats had exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to manipulate the 2020 election results, a theory reported by The Guardian.

Shortly after his conviction, Trump’s legal team began preparing for an appeal, a process fraught with challenges and uncertainties. Legal experts have cautioned that overturning the conviction will be a steep uphill battle, especially given the rigorous standards appeals courts adhere to when reviewing lower court decisions. Judge Juan Merchan has set a deadline of June 13 for both parties to file any motions that could potentially affect the outcome of the case, including requests to reexamine specific aspects of the trial or judgment.

Todd Blanche, Trump’s lead attorney, expressed a commitment to “vigorously fight” the conviction by submitting motions during the upcoming post-trial motions phase. However, Richard Serafini, a former federal and Manhattan prosecutor, told Axios that such efforts are unlikely to succeed, noting, “That essentially has no possibility of success.” He added that most appeals are denied because “judges tend to get it right and this was an experienced judge.”

Despite the bleak outlook for the appeal, the ongoing legal process may keep Trump out of jail at least until after the November elections, as the appeal will not conclude by then. Even if Judge Merchan sentences him to jail time, Trump could remain on bail during the appeal process.

Serafini pointed out that the novel use of the statute under which Trump was charged could present a slim avenue for appeal. The charge hinges on proving Trump falsified business documents with the intent of committing another crime to enhance his electoral prospects, an interpretation not previously tested in court. Serafini acknowledged the uniqueness of the case but noted, “There’s nothing really that I know in the statute that would preclude its use in this context.” As Trump gears up for his legal battle, the outcome remains uncertain, with significant implications for his political and personal future.



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