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Mixed reaction from locals after Donald Trump guilty verdict

Updated May 30, 2024 - 7:23 pm

Residents throughout the Las Vegas Valley were showing a mixed reaction to the news that former President Donald Trump had been convicted on 34 counts by a New York jury in his so-called hush money trial, with some calling it a witch hunt and others saying Trump should be put behind bars.

North Las Vegas resident Alfred Von Altheimer Jr., 93, said he was “elated” by the verdict and called Trump a fraud and a liar.

“He’s not a nice person,” he said outside of Doolittle Community Center on Thursday. “Hopefully the country will get back on its feet and gets democracy where it should be. … I hope it brings some sanity back to the Republican Party, which I used to be a member of.”

Von Altheimer said Democrats are not much better, but he thinks Biden is a better option. He hopes Trump “takes a seat.”

“He needs to sit down and stop trying to be president,” he said.

Glenn Nor, a Las Vegas resident, said he was shocked to hear the news of the verdict.

A ‘witch hunt’

The 59-year-old voted for Trump twice and will vote for him in November. He said the country was better under Trump, and he criticized Biden for his lack of action on the border.

“It’s just a witch hunt driven by Biden,” said Nor, who wore a “Make America Great Again” hat and a “Let’s Go Brandon” T-shirt. “That’s all it is. They were going to try to keep him out of the election.”

The reactions came Thursday afternoon after Trump became the first former U.S. president to ever be tried or convicted in a criminal case. The Manhattan jury convicted Trump of all 34 counts he faced, determining that he falsified business records in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to Stormy Daniels, a porn actor who said the two had sex.

Mike Severance, a Las Vegas resident, said the verdict didn’t shock him, although he thought Trump might beat the charges.

“I’m a Republican, but I’m not a Trump supporter, but I’m not surprised, really,” Severance said. “They had that many counts, I figured they were going to get him.”

Trump ‘shouldn’t be above the law’

Despite the guilty verdicts, Severance doesn’t believe those who back Trump will change their view ahead of the presidential election this fall.

“I think the Trumpsters are still behind him,” Severance said.

Another resident said she hopes Trump serves jail time.

“He shouldn’t be above the law,” North Las Vegas resident Delores Armstrong said at the Doolittle Community Center. “He shouldn’t be able to do what he does. If it was one of us, we would be in jail locked up. All the stuff this man has done and he’s still running around. It’s ridiculous.”

Armstrong, who said she plans to vote for President Joe Biden in November, said she doesn’t think Trump should be allowed to run for president.

Jim Spinks, a Sun City Summerlin resident, said the Trump verdict was highly disappointing.

“Massive hoax,” said Spinks, an Army veteran. “This is a travesty of the Constitution. I’m a West Point graduate and I’m ashamed to be American right now.”

‘Political bias,’ not law and order

Spinks said he thinks the verdict was a political move.

“This has to do with fixing the election,” Spinks said.

Jim Holzheimer, owner of the Mystic Lobster Roll Company in Summerlin, said he thinks a lot of politics were involved with the court proceedings. With an appeal by Trump’s legal team a likely scenario, Holzheimer said he doesn’t believe the verdict will affect Trump’s standing for this year’s election.

“Just because the time it generally takes,” Holzheimer said. “Even if they fast track it, it will probably go past the election. Because there are multiple levels of appeals. … It could end up even going to the Supreme Court.”

Republican National Committeewoman and attorney Sigal Chattah said the Nevada Republican Party condemns what she called evidentiary due process violations and meritless verdict.

“It’s clear that the trial was politically motivated and evidentiary determinations were made on the basis of political bias and not law and order,” Chattah told the Review-Journal. “Nevada GOP unequivocally stands with President Trump.”

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X. Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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