Trump guilty verdict does not change US election race, Biden campaign says

By Jarrett Renshaw

(Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden's reelection campaign said Donald Trump's sweeping guilty verdict in his hush-money trial on Thursday proves that "no one is above the law," but will do little to change the dynamics of the Nov. 5 election.

"There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box," Biden campaign spokesman Michael Tyler said after the guilty verdict.

Trump on Thursday became the first U.S. president to be convicted of a crime when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

After deliberations over two days, the 12-member jury announced it had found Trump guilty on all 34 counts he faced. Unanimity was required for any verdict.

Biden's campaign has been weighing how to handle the hush-money trial's outcome for weeks, and ultimately decided against changing course, arguing that a guilty verdict will not substantially change the dynamics of the election, campaign officials said.

Instead, they said they plan to stay focused on their main campaign messages of threats to democracy and abortion access.

"Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president," Tyler said.

Biden, who is currently in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, with his family, has no public schedule for the rest of the day.

Biden's White House opted to say little after the verdict.

"We respect the rule of law, and have no additional comment," said Ian Sams, a spokesman for the White House Counsel’s ofice.

Opinion polls show a guilty verdict could pose some danger for Trump in an election that could be decided by just tens of thousands of votes in a handful of battleground states. But some strategists say the threat to Trump may be overblown.

“I’ve always suspected that the voters saying 'I’d have to reconsider if he gets convicted of a crime' are pretending to be rational and thoughtful when in fact they’re still going to vote for him," said Jimmy Siegel, a Democratic strategist.

"So I don’t think it’s going to have a large effect."

(This story has been refiled to add a dropped word in paragraph 1)

(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Leslie Adler and Deepa Babington)