Sen. Susan Collins decried former President Donald Trump’s conviction on felony charges Thursday, saying it was a politically motivated trial in which he was unfairly targeted.

“It is fundamental to our American system of justice that the government prosecutes cases because of alleged criminal conduct regardless of who the defendant happens to be. In this case the opposite has happened,” Collins said in a written statement Thursday night.

The other members of Maine’s congressional delegation – Sen. Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden – took the opposite tack, highlighting the jury’s work as a validation of the rule of law in a democracy.

Collins had charted her own path within the Republican Party by announcing in March that she “cannot support” Trump and would not vote for him come November.

Her stance on the trial, however, aligns her with the many Republicans who swiftly decried the verdict. House Speaker Mike Johnson said the charges were “purely political.” Since being charged in 2023, Trump often has berated Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, accusing him of political persecution.

“The district attorney, who campaigned on a promise to prosecute Donald Trump, brought these charges precisely because of who the defendant was rather than because of any specified criminal conduct,” Collins said. “The political underpinnings of this case further blur the lines between the judicial system and the electoral system, and this verdict likely will be the subject of a protracted appeals process.”

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King, an independent, and Pingree and Golden, both Democrats, saw the trial and its outcome in a different light.

“Today in New York City an event took place that was historic: a former president found guilty on felony charges – an incredibly consequential decision after weeks of evidence and testimony,” Sen. Angus King said in a statement Thursday night. “As we face a world of uncertainties and conflict, the infrastructure of our shared American identity remains sturdy so long as we are vigilant in remembering our founding principles, including equal justice under the law.”

King also honored the effort that the jurors put in to reach their verdict.

“However, the event was also a typical day in courthouses across the country – 12 men and women, from all walks of life, coming together to do their civic duty,” he said.

Rep. Jared Golden, D-2nd District, recognizes the trial and jury’s decision as a fair conclusion amid accusations that the trial has been improperly conducted.

“In this case, former President Trump has had his day in court and has been found guilty by a jury of his peers,” Golden said in a prepared statement. “I respect the jury’s decision. As to the many questions I’ve received about the politics of this decision, let me say this: As of today, Donald Trump is the Republican candidate for president. I have no doubt that information about this verdict will feature in the campaign.”

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“I trust the people of Maine with their votes,” Golden concluded.

Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, also lauded the jurors, expressing gratitude for their fortitude and courage.

“Today marks a solemn and unprecedented moment in American history. A former president – and the leading Republican nominee for president – has been fairly tried by a jury of his peers and convicted on 34 felony counts,” Pingree said in a statement on Thursday night. “This process, and the trials to come, has reaffirmed that no one is above the law. I am grateful for the fortitude and courage of the jurors who spent many long days fulfilling their civic duty.

“While our country is facing many challenges, now is a moment to have some faith in our democracy and this important exercise of the rule of law.”


Does Trump’s conviction change your opinion going into the November presidential election?

On Thursday, Donald Trump became the first former American president to be convicted of felony crimes Thursday as a New York jury found him guilty of all 34 charges in a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through a hush money payment to a porn actor who said the two had sex. Do the former president's felon convictions change your opinion of him, or who you'll vote for, going into the election?

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