Lansing residents, visitors' reactions mixed to Trump's guilty verdict

They range from 'great conviction' to 'ridiculous'


FRIDAY, May 31 — A jury of 12 Manhattan residents found former President Donald J. Trump guilty on 34 felony counts yesterday, making him the first president in United States history to be convicted of a felony.  This morning, City Pulse interviewed pedestrians in downtown Lansing on their thoughts on the monumental verdict. Their responses:

Brianna Simpson, 25, Lansing: “To be honest, I don’t really involve myself in that. In my thought, this is his doing. If we’re going to hold Hillary to a standard for what she did, then we should also hold him accountable for his actions as well. I live a pretty stress-free life, and I know this is something that causes a lot of controversy, and, honestly, I don’t see the point in hashing it out. It’s not my life, it’s not my stuff. And, honestly, the power is going to be in somebody else’s hands to decide that, and I trust them to make the best decision that they should.”

Jannus C., Okemos: “I think it’s a great conviction. It won’t change how I vote. I was cautiously optimistic going into it that he would be found guilty.”

Kelsey Brianne, 33, Lansing: “It is encouraging to know that he is being held accountable regardless of the punishment. This sends a clear message that no one is above the law. Trump is notorious for not paying his employees and going bankrupt several times, he is the definition of a crook. His campaign donation page crashed directly after the guilty verdict, and I am very concerned about political violence. This by no means kills his campaign, it only strengthens his base which should terrify us all. Trump's base thinks anything against him is rigged. "

Hannah, visitor from Texas: “I just think it’s ridiculous that he was able to be convicted. It was atrocious to see him treated that way.”

Daron, visitor from “the thumb”: “If Donald Trump can stand trial, so can Joe Biden. I’m still voting for him no matter what.”

Lola Browne, 20, East Lansing/Michigan State student: “I expected him to get a conviction, but I did not expect it to be all 34 counts, particularly because I was following the case on NPR’s Trump trials podcast. On the podcast, they bring in legal experts to discuss the prosecution and defense and all these different things. And what I was hearing from legal experts discussion discussing the prosecution's was that they weren't making a very strong case about Donald Trump actually committing a crime of falsification and that it was more so based on the Stormy Daniels controversy.”

“If you have a client you want to make, for example, in a murder case, you want to prove that your client has an alibi and they weren't there. But that's not what they were doing. Instead, they were attacking Michael Cohen's character thinking that was going to save them. So, I definitely felt like the case degraded. When I heard the verdict, I was sitting in my car. I pulled over and I was listening to it live, and when I heard that he was guilty 34 times, I was shocked, but also not shocked. 

“It was interesting hearing a historical moment live — the first president to be convicted as a felon. I'm glad that he, for all of the things he's done, finally had something brought against him. But at the same time, he still has all these other cases. And the hush money case in particular was on the weaker end of the spectrum. This was only state level case, but the good part about that is he won't be able to pardon himself if he does become president.”

“Another thing that I have mixed feelings about is that I’m not sure if it will change many people’s minds. When you listen to podcasts where they interview Trump supporters, I overwhelmingly heard them say that a conviction wouldn’t change anything for them. And that’s scary and concerning for me. It’s not going to change how I’m going to vote. I was always going to vote the same. I’m pretty jazzed about it, except for that I think it will probably, unfortunately, divide our country even more.”

Bob Wesner, 73, St. Johns: “It surprised me that they just came out and found him guilty on all 34 federal offenses. Like, wow, I think they just said, ‘No, we're tired of all this. He's a crook. Let's convict him,’ and boom.” 

Abbey B., Lansing: “In my point of view, it’s amazing. I’m surprised that they actually did something. Someone could have that many felonies and they can’t work at a McDonalds, but they can run for president. It baffles me. So, I’m happy they actually did something. Hopefully it actually makes a difference.”

Beverly Leaf, 80, Holt: "I was just grateful that number one, they had the judge, the jury and the attorney general who all did their duty, and that was the end result. I absolutely feel like that was the right thing, and I would never vote for him either way. I think the jury is to be especially commended. It was long, it was complicated. And I think they were attentive and followed through.”

“He’s making more money off of that verdict now, though. We don't know how that will alter things, but the fact that it happened was important. It happened, and we're always going to have that.”

Don Leaf, 81, Holt: “It's hard to do that — to arrive at a guilty verdict with 12 people who all agree. I mean, I've been on juries. Only one person has to say that they won’t go that way. But, the jury did their job, and that’s how the system is supposed to work.”

Mechack Mafuta, 23, Lansing, soon to be law student at University of Michigan: “My thoughts were that there was enough evidence to convict. The jury believed the evidence and that was good enough for them to find him guilty. I was surprised that he finally faced justice, but I was not surprised that he was guilty.”

Paul Brun-Del-Re, 71, Delta Township: “What happens in fascist countries is that the people played this whole victimization game, where they present themselves as the victim and then that's how they take power. And then, yes, they oppress the people. To me, that seems like the strategy now, for sure. That's exactly what Trump is trying to do. So, I'm concerned that we're tilting towards fascism.” 

Paula Yensen, 75, Delta Township: “Here's a very wealthy man. And he uses his former position as president and he feels he’s above the law and sees no issue with engaging in this kind of behavior. No matter what people vote for, or a person’s personal position in life, nobody is above the law. This was a verdict based on a cross-section of people in the community that did their duty serving, and, no matter what, no one can justify being greater than our democratic process.”

Donald Trump, guilty, verdict, felony, counts, court, judge, jury, reaction, downtown, Lansing, Okemos, Holt, St. Johns, East Lansing, Michigan State, University of Michigan, president, Joe Biden, politics, Michigan


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