Top Florida officials react to Donald Trump guilty verdict

by | May 30, 2024

Florida’s top political figures offered rapid-fire reactions to the conviction of former President Donald Trump on 34 felony counts related to alleged business record violations.

Trump on Thursday was found guilty of falsifying business records by a New York jury, marking the first felony conviction of a former U.S. president. The charges stemmed from efforts to influence the 2016 election through hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had a sexual encounter with Trump.

The conviction exposes Trump to potential prison time and complicates his 2024 presidential campaign, although he is expected to appeal.

Moving forward, Trump’s conviction is likely to be appealed through the New York State appellate courts. The appeal would likely address what the defense believes to be reversible error, that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence, or there was insufficient evidence to convict.

Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized the verdict, claiming the legal process was politically motivated.

Today’s verdict represents the culmination of a legal process that has been bent to the political will of the actors involved: a leftist prosecutor, a partisan judge and a jury reflective of one of the most liberal enclaves in America—all in an effort to “get” Donald Trump,” said DeSantis. “That this case—involving alleged misdemeanor business records violations from nearly a decade ago—was even brought is a testament to the political debasement of the justice system in places like New York City. This is especially true considering this same district attorney routinely excuses criminal conduct in a way that has endangered law-abiding citizens in his jurisdiction.”

Representative and Speaker-Designate of the House of Representatives Daniel Perez shared DeSantis’ sentiment, condemning what he described as the weaponization of the justice system.

“From the outset, this case has been a verdict in search of a crime,” he said. “Our justice system isn’t perfect, but when we allow it to be weaponized for political purposes, we undermine our nation’s integrity,” Perez stated on Twitter.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson, meanwhile, called the conviction election interference.

“This disgrace isn’t justice. It’s election interference,” Simpson tweeted.

State Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis echoed this view, likening the situation to political corruption in less stable nations, and insinuating that Trump should be granted clemency.

“Banana republic. To orchestrate charges in an election year for something years earlier just to try and take out a political opponent—this is what people have been fleeing in 3rd World countries for decades,” Patronis said after the verdict was read.

Florida GOP Chairman Evan Power issued a statement criticizing the judicial process leading to Trump’s guilty verdict, describing it as influenced by bias and part of a broader “political witch hunt” by Democrats. He argued that the verdict was driven by “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and would not diminish Trump’s growing support.

“From a corrupt District Attorney to a rigged judge making a mockery of our judicial system, President Trump’s guilty verdict comes as no surprise,” said Power. “Trump Derangement Syndrome was alive and well in that New York courtroom, but here in the real world, Donald Trump’s support only grows stronger. This political witch hunt does nothing more than make fools out of the Democrats. They can’t win with a failing, senile old man on the ballot, so they must resort to election interference. Americans see right through it!”

In contrast, Rep. Fentrice Driskell, the House Minority Leader, emphasized the seriousness of the conviction and called for unity against corruption.

“It’s an unprecedented moment in our history. The former President and presumptive Republican nominee is now a convicted felon, guilty of all 34 charges. It is time for Americans to come together to reject corruption, regardless of political party,” Driskell tweeted.


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