NEW YORK (NEWSnet/AP) – Donald Trump tried to present his conviction on 34 felony charges as potential campaign fuel to his 2024 White House bid as he gave a press conference Friday to respond to the verdict.

The press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan was a reaction to Thursday’s jury verdict in which Trump was convicted of 34 counts falsifying business records during his 2016 presidential campaign. The State of New York charges were over efforts to to hide a hush money payment to a porn actor who claimed they had sex years before.

Trump argued the verdict was illegitimate and driven by politics, and sought to downplay the allegations underlying the case.

He spoke for a half hour Friday, noting that he did not testify in the trial, but insisting "I wanted to testify."

A gag order on the case prohibits him from publicly critiquing witnesses such as Michael Cohen.

Sentencing is July 11, just four days before the Republican National Convention begins July 15. Trump is the leading Republican candidate with the others all having dropped out or suspended their campaigns. He has not yet announced his choice for vice president.

During the press conference, Trump said he thinks he broke a record in the history of politics by raising $39 million dollars since the verdict was announced. Earlier Friday morning, his campaign noted a different figure: $34.8 million. Either amount would be nearly double its previous largest take – and furthermore, campaign advisors said nearly 30% of Thursday’s donors were new to their fundraising platform.

In the meantime, Trump supporters and right-wing pundits have flow and shared images of upside-down flags in protest of the former president’s conviction. 

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