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The Gamut

The Gamut

The Gamut

Trump Faces 34 Felony Counts in Historical Indictment

On Apr. 4, former president Donald Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in an alleged effort to cover up extramarital affairs ahead of the 2016 presidential election. At his first court appearance, Trump pleaded not guilty to all counts. The case against him makes him the first former sitting president to be indicted on criminal charges. 

The indictment centers around payments made to two women, former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stormy Daniels. According to witness testimony, business records, and a recorded conversation between Trump and his former lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump reimbursed Cohen by passing off the payment as legal fees, thus falsifying business records. Days before the 2016 presidential election, Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 to prevent news of an affair between her and the former president from leaking to the public. 

Trump also worked with tabloid executive David Pecker in a “catch and kill” operation — where a media outlet buys the rights to negative stories without intending to publish them — to suppress news of his alleged infidelity.  

While the charge of falsifying business records is a misdemeanor, it becomes a felony punishable by up to four years in prison when it is used to conceal a separate crime. This was the case for Trump. According to prosecutor Chris Conroy, Trump’s specific crimes were “undermining the integrity of the 2016 presidential election and other violations of election laws.”

Taking place in the backdrop of the upcoming 2024 presidential election, the case has notable political implications. Trump has officially announced his candidacy for the Republican party nomination and has accused the case of being a continuation of a politically-motivated witch hunt. In a speech delivered after his court appearance, he criticized Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney bringing the charges, and vehemently denied claims of wrongdoing. 

“[Democrats] attacked me with an onslaught of fraudulent investigations, and now this massive election interference on a scale never seen before in our country with the radical-left George Soros-backed prosecutor Alvin Bragg of New York,” Trump said. 

Oxford students brought their own input to the news, commenting on the effect that the indictment would likely have on voters. 

“I think that Trump’s supporters will become more entrenched in their support for him and people who are in the middle or in between the two candidates will likely be pushed further from him,” senior Brian Phung said. 

In terms of what students would like to see as a result of the proceedings, one senior, Kristela Avendaño, hopes for a shift toward electing more reliable presidents.

“Let’s think about ASB elections. Do we elect people that have had multiple detentions, truancies, and an extremely bad track record? No, because [our decision] comes from faith that they will do the job. I would say the same thing should go for anyone we elect president,” Avendaño said. 

Although most interviewed seniors stated that the indictment would have little effect on their voting decisions, one student revealed how it shifted their perspective on electing candidates in the upcoming 2024 election. 

“Seeing the far-right radicalism that has been spotlighted in the media as a result of the indictment has urged me to take a more active role in looking for candidates and individuals who can bring the change I’d like to see. Though Joe Biden is a clear front-runner in the 2024 Democratic Primaries, I am hoping to use my vote and take a stand against the status quo,” said senior Freddy Netto.

About the Contributors
Janet Abrantes, Op-Ed Editor
This year's senior Op-Ed editor for The Gamut, Janet Abrantes will be serving her last year at the paper. Janet notes that her initial interest in journalism stemmed in Mrs. Galvan’s English 8H class back in 2018. One of her favorite memories here at The Gamut is attending journalism workshops at Fullerton college back in her freshman year. Janet is the president of the Creative Writing club here at Oxford and she is also a member of the OA cross-country team. In her freetime, Janet can be found crocheting cute projects she finds on her cottage-core Pinterest feed, hanging with her best friends Garrick and Kristela, or listening to artists like Fiona Apple. In her near future, Janet hopes to major in political science, journalism, or even economics. But for the time being, Janet is going to have the time of her life during her senior year whilst being her awesome, creative, and off-beat self. 
Anjali Suva, Senior Staff Writer
An empathetic, strong-willed, and charismatic senior, Anjali joined the Gamut to channel her talkative energy and express her opinions through writing. Writing makes her feel unstoppable, especially when she knows that every word she writes and everything she says becomes important on paper. Her favorite subjects being history and English, Anjali enjoys watching history documentaries and reading manga, as well as digital art during her free time. She loves diving into webtoons filled with drama, thriller, and action, making Pyramid Game and The Aftermath her favorites. She can often be seen ranting and fangirling about her favorite characters, Denji from Chainsaw Man, Reagan from Inside Job, and, of course, Suji from “Pyramid Game” Wanting to live this year without any regrets, Anjali hopes to have a memorable first year in Gamut!
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Trump Faces 34 Felony Counts in Historical Indictment