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Trump’s European allies rally around him after historic conviction

European allies of former US President Donald Trump have rallied around him in support following his historic conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

The conviction – which has been heralded as a somber moment for America with wide-reaching implications – has been painted by Trump’s allies in Europe as political persecution, aimed at derailing his bid to return to White House.

Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called Trump’s conviction “judicial harassment” in a post on X, while Hungarian President Viktor Orban urged him to “keep on fighting” for the presidency.

But other countries declined to comment on the development – a conventional response for governments when asked about another nation’s domestic matters.

A Manhattan jury found Trump guilty of all 34 charges of falsifying business records on Thursday, an unprecedented verdict that makes him the first former president in American history to be convicted of a felony. The verdict was announced after jurors deliberated for nearly 12 hours over two days.

It will ultimately be up to voters in November to decide the significance of the guilty verdict delivered by 12 ordinary New Yorkers, which, on a legal basis, does not prevent him from being elected president again.

Salvini, who is a long-time supporter of the former president and visited him in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during his first presidential campaign, said Trump was a “victim of judicial harassment and a process of political nature.”

He wrote on X that “in Italy, we are sadly familiar with the weaponization of the justice system by the left,” which he said has for years tried to “eliminate political opponents through legal means.”

“I hope Trump wins; it would be a guarantee of greater balance and hope for world peace,” he added.

Orbán said he knew Trump to be “a man of honour.”

“As president, he always put America first, he commanded respect around the world and used this respect to build peace,” he said Friday in a post on ‘X’.

“Let the people make their verdict this November! Keep on fighting, Mr. President!” he added.

Meanwhile, Russia suggested there was a political conspiracy at play, despite Trump being convicted by a jury.

“In general, if we talk about Trump, it is obvious that political rivals are being eliminated there through all legal and illegal means,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, said in a daily call to journalists.

“This is visible to the whole world with the naked eye.”

Other countries, sticking to protocol, declined to comment on Trump’s conviction. Asked in a press briefing Friday whether he would potentially be willing to work with a convicted felon, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak avoided the question, stating that his focus was “squarely on the election here at home, talking to people across the country about the choice at our election.”

Germany’s Foreign Office spokesperson Christian Wagner, meanwhile, told journalists in a daily briefing: “We do not comment on this.”

This post appeared first on cnn.com

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