Trump Donation Website Crashes as Cash Pours in After Guilty Verdict
Trump Donation Website Crashes as Cash Pours in After Guilty Verdict

By Tom Ozimek

Minutes after the jury returned a guilty verdict in former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York, an influx of donations to his presidential campaign as an apparent show of support caused his donation page to temporarily become unavailable.

A jury found the former president guilty on May 30 in a case in which President Trump was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in order to conceal non-disclosure payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels as part of an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election in which he was a candidate.

Within minutes of the jury returning the verdict, President Trump’s donation page displayed a 500 error stating “something went wrong,” leading to widespread speculation of a tidal wave of donations underway, possibly out of a combination of support for the former president and outrage at the guilty verdict.

The Trump campaign later confirmed that the page was down due to a torrent of donations.

“The American people see through Crooked Joe Biden’s rigged show trial. So many Americans were moved to donate to President Trump’s campaign that the WinRed pages went down,” the Team Trump account on X said in a post. “We are working on getting the website back online as quickly as possible. Stay strong.”

The page has since gone back up, with the Trump campaign confirming that fact in a follow-up post.

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), a staunch supporter of President Trump, took to X to say that the “best way to fight back right now against the sham trial is to donate to the Trump campaign,” while sharing a link to a new “Never Surrender” donation page that features a message from the former president.

“I’m a political prisoner!” reads the message, which features President Trump’s signature and a photo of his mugshot. “I was just convicted in a rigged political witch hunt trial.”

“They’ve raided my home, arrested me, took my mugshot, and now they’ve just convicted me,” reads the message, with the former president calling on his supporters to donate and send a message to President Joe Biden that his chances of a second term in office “end today.”

“But for that to happen, our immediate pushback must be so massive, it will go down in history,” President Trump continued.

Like Mr. Vance, other Republicans condemned the guilty verdict, which made President Trump the first former president in U.S. history to be convicted of a crime.

Democrats and the Biden presidential campaign reacted to the verdict with satisfaction.

“Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his own personal gain,” Biden–Harris 2024 communications director Michael Tyler said in a statement.

White House spokesperson Ian Sams said in a post on X: “We respect the rule of law, and have no additional comment.”

An attorney for the former president told CNN before the jury delivered the verdict that his legal team would be prepared to quickly appeal, putting the case in the hands of the New York Court of Appeals.

The Verdict

After less than two days of deliberations, a jury of 12 unanimously found President Trump guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Judge Juan Merchan, who sparked controversy with instructions to the jury that they didn’t need to agree on all elements of an underlying crime that was key to elevating into a felony what would normally be a misdemeanor charge, set the former commander-in-chief’s sentencing date for July 11.

“It is all in the instructions!” Phillip Kline, a law professor at Liberty University and former Kansas attorney general, wrote in a post on X commenting on the jury instructions. “Judge Merchan has thru delay and obfuscation hampered the preparation of a defense, constructed a manner for the jury to convict without agreement on what crime was committed, and paved the way thru allowing irrelevant evidence for mere animus towards Trump to convict! Welcome to the left’s living Constitution!”

President Trump’s sentencing is just four days before the date of the Republican National Convention, when the former president is set to be formally designated as the Republican presidential nominee.

The verdict came after a six-week trial with testimony from 22 witnesses, with closing arguments on May 28 and jury deliberation starting the day after.

In the case, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged President Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in order to conceal an alleged $130,000 non-disclosure payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Mr. Bragg alleged that the records fraud was used to cover up or commit another underly crime, namely a conspiracy to promote or prevent an election by “unlawful means.”

The judge told jurors in his instructions that prosecutors must persuade them on two aspects of the count of falsifying business records in the first degree in order for them to convict. One was that President Trump “personally or by acting in concert with another person or persons made or caused a false entry in the records” of a business and, two, that the former president did so with the intent to commit or conceal another crime.

“If you find the People have proven beyond a reasonable doubt each of those two elements, you must find the defendant guilty of this crime,” he said.

The underlying crime that President Trump was accused of intending to commit, aid, or conceal is a violation of New York Election Law section 17-152, which provides that “any two or more persons who conspire to promote or prevent the election of any person to a public office by unlawful means and which conspiracy is acted upon by one or more of the parties thereto, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Even though the judge said that the jury must be unanimous on the two elements, he told them they don’t need to agree on some of the “unlawful means” that are part of the alleged underlying crime that allows the charges to be elevated to a felony.

Speaking to the press after the verdict was announced, Mr. Bragg declined to reveal whether prosecutors will seek a prison sentence for the former president.

“While this defendant may be unlike any other in American history, we arrived today at this trial and ultimately this verdict in the same manner as every other case that comes through the courtroom doors,” he said at a press conference held hours after jurors convicted the former president.

Mr. Bragg declined to answer questions related to sentencing, saying only that prosecutors would present their arguments to the court through motions and at the hearing.

“I did my job. Our job is to follow the facts without fear or favor,” Mr. Bragg said in response to another question.

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