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In updated statement on Trump's guilty conviction, Stefanik amplifies tone

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) at a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago with former President Donald Trump in January 2022
Elise Stefanik
/
Twitter
North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) at a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago with former President Donald Trump in January 2022

At around 5 p.m. on Thursday, historic news broke that former President Donald Trump had been convicted on all 34 counts for falsifying business records ahead of the 2016 election.

At 5:11 p.m. North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik's campaign released a statement decrying Trump's guilty verdict, describing the American justice system as "corrupt and rigged."

The original statement released by Rep. Elise Stefanik's campaign (left) and the updated statement (right).
Rep. Elise Stefanik's office
The original statement released by Rep. Elise Stefanik's campaign (left) and the updated statement (right).

Less than 20 minutes later, at 5:27 p.m., Stefanik's campaign released an updated statement, amplifying the tone and instead describing it as the "weaponized justice system" that is "unAmerican."

Alex DeGrasse, a senior advisor to Rep. Elise Stefanik, said the original statement was "sent out in error by a staff member," adding that "it is not Elise Stefanik's statement."

In a phone interview on Friday afternoon, DeGrasse said the original statement had been redacted, though that language was never included in prior emails sent to the media.

The subject line of the email that included the updated statement read: “(UPDATED) Stefanik Statement On The Rigged Verdict In The New York City Biden Trial Against President Trump.”

Throughout that updated statement, Stefanik amplifies the claim that the case was brought "illegally" and that the gag order on Trump during the trial was "clearly unconstitutional," both claims that were not included in her first statement on his conviction.

The updates made to the statement from Stefanik's campaign are shown here, with additional text highlighted and deleted text with a strike through.
Emily Russell
The updates made to the statement from Stefanik's campaign are shown here, with additional text highlighted and deleted text with a strike through.

In describing the judge who presided over the case, Stefanik's first statement said he is a "conflicted" judge, though the updated statement changes it to "unethical." It also adds "corrupt Democrat" to describe the judge.

Stefanik’s language echoes claims made by Trump since he was convicted on felony charges. In a speech at Trump Tower on Friday, Trump claimed that the trial was “rigged,” and said he plans to appeal the verdict.

There is no evidence that the trial was illegal or the judge’s actions were unconstitutional. The trial was part of a standard legal process with the outcome determined by a jury of twelve New Yorkers.

Both versions of Stefanik’s statement on his conviction describe her as “a key ally to President Trump during this sham Biden trial.” Stefanik has been a loyal, outspoken advocate of Trump since the lead-up to his first impeachment in 2019.

Stefanik is considered to be on the shortlist for Trump’s Vice Presidential pick.

Emily Russell covers the Adirondack State Park for NCPR.