In the United States, the Trump trial devourers

The April 18 hearing, drawn by Elizabeth Williams. ELIZABETH WILLIAMS/POOL VIA REUTERS

The sketches are displayed in the studio that Elizabeth Williams shares with another artist in Manhattan. The New York designer chose seven of them, to which she added a few rough sketches. A man in profile, leaning on the back of his chair, legs crossed, stands out against the ochre background. Midnight blue suit, bright red tie and straw-yellow hair with a cut that is recognizable among thousands: Donald Trump.

The former White House tenant, Republican candidate for the November presidential election, is represented at the criminal trial during which he was found guilty, on May 30, of all thirty-four offenses of “falsification of accounting documents” with which he was accused. A maneuver intended to hide a payment of $130,000 (around €120,000) to the former porn star Stormy Daniels, to avoid a sex scandal just before the 2016 presidential election, the twelve jurors unanimously judged.

Elizabeth Williams and her colleague Jane Rosenberg, also accredited, have hardly missed a day of this extraordinary trial and intend to cover the epilogue of this incredible moment in the history of the United States, in September, when Judge Juan Merchan will pronounce the sentence that will be imposed on Donald Trump. On paper, the billionaire risks up to four years in prison.

Read also | Donald Trump’s sentencing in trial over hidden payments to porn star postponed until September

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None of these seasoned professionals that the media are fighting over dare to publicly formulate a prognosis. They are also coquettish enough not to want to communicate their age. We will only know that they have been scouring the courts since the 1980s. “I love drawing people and the challenge of courtrooms, explains Elizabeth Williams, who works for the Associated Press. It’s a great lesson in humility. You never know what you’re capable of.”

From John Lennon’s Assassin to Harvey Weinstein

New York State is one of the last to restrict the use of video in court. While photographers had a few minutes to immortalize Donald Trump at the beginning of the day, the drawings by Elizabeth Williams, Jane Rosenberg and Christine Cornell, the third artist present at the trial, are the only images that bear witness to the proceedings. The job of courtroom artists is to capture a fleeting expression, to convey a particular atmosphere and to show what is happening within these four walls.

Not much escapes them: Donald Trump’s closed eyes, Judge Merchan’s anger, Stormy Daniels’ stoicism or the determination of Michael Cohen, the former confidant of the ex-president. During their long career, they have seen a cross-section of humanity pass through the dock, from the average person to the most powerful, from John Lennon’s assassin, Mark Chapman, to film producer Harvey Weinstein, to Mexican mafia boss Joaquin Guzman, known as “El Chapo”.

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