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SAUNDERS: Trump is a felon. That’s not necessarily good news for Biden

WASHINGTON — Jurors are tougher than voters. They expect defendants — or their lawyers — to tell the truth. Hence the 34 guilty verdicts on charges that former President Donald Trump falsified business records to influence the 2016 election.

Don’t get me wrong. I still think Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg engaged in prosecutorial overreach with a case based on amorphous charges for moldy behavior. That is, the prosecution engaged in election interference fueled by partisan rancor.

So I believe Trump is likely to see the verdict and sentencing reversed on appeal because you don’t prosecute a former president based on novel legal theory.

But for now Trump is a convicted felon.

And that’s in part because Trump was dishonest. He rightly chose not to testify, but he wrongly spent years denying that he had relations with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who were paid $130,000 and $150,000, respectively, in “hush money.”

As Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told CNN, “You don’t pay someone $130,000 not to have sex with you.”

Also, I don’t think jurors appreciate giving up weeks of their lives for someone who didn’t take the process seriously.

The guilty verdict may not be good news for President Joe Biden. As Trump maintained after the verdict, “The real verdict will be November 5 by the people, and they know what happened here.”

As for Biden, sure, the 81-year-old will be running against a convicted felon — but that feeds into Trump’s pose as a victim of a “rigged” system and an underdog.

And really, it’s hard to look like a winner when your 77-year-old opponent could be in handcuffs at any time.

Another fly in the ointment: The president’s son Hunter is set to go to trial next week on federal charges related to lying about his drug use to buy a gun in 2018.

Hunter Biden, a Yale Law graduate, also faces charges of tax evasion. According to the indictment by Special Counsel David Weiss, the president’s son stands accused of spending money he didn’t pay on taxes instead on “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes.”

After the guilty verdict, White House Counsel’s Office spokesperson Ian Sams released a statement in which he said, “We respect the rule of law, and have no additional comment.”

But this is not the last word.

Contact Review-Journal Washington columnist Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com. Follow @debrajsaunders on X.

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