Trump was smiling. Then the whiplash hit.

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The first count landed like a hammer: “Guilty.”

In business-like fashion, the foreman of a Manhattan jury transformed Donald Trump — the former president of the United States and possibly the next one — into a convicted felon. Then he said it 33 more times.

“Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.” The cadence of a historic moment, set against the smashing of keyboards in a courtroom jammed with reporters battling failing Wi-Fi to deliver the news. Trump, the world would soon learn, will be sentenced — perhaps to prison — just days before he formally claims the GOP mantle to return to the most powerful job in the world.

Immediately after the verdict, Trump stared straight ahead, contemplating the moment. Then he whipped his gaze back toward the jury as each member individually confirmed that the judgment was unanimous: Trump had falsified 34 business records to cover up a payoff to porn star Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign, when Daniels was poised to go public with her account of having sex with Trump a decade earlier.

The trial was over. And minutes later, the jury was gone.

Though Trump and his allies had long predicted the outcome, the former president still appeared stung, grimacing on his way out of the courtroom before returning to his defiant form and declaring he would be vindicated in the November election. His campaign operation declared that he was already a “political prisoner,” echoing language he has used to describe the Jan. 6 rioters who stormed the Capitol in his name.

The most jarring aspect of the moment was its mundane efficiency. If you closed your eyes, it sounded no different than the end of a run-of-the-mill criminal trial, with the foreman ticking through the charges before a relatively standard statement of gratitude from the judge for the jury’s completion of its civic duty.

Justice Juan Merchan then released the jurors from their obligations to keep silent about their role in the case and said he intended to meet with them briefly before sending them back to their regular lives, likely forever changed by their brush with American history.

“I want to thank you very much for your service in this case. You were engaged in a very stressful and difficult task,” Merchan told the jurors after the verdict was read.

The drama of the moment was heightened, however, by the whiplash.

Just minutes before jurors revealed they had reached a decision, Merchan was preparing to send them home for the day with instructions to come back in the morning to continue deliberating. Trump appeared jovial, his allies predicting that the lengthening deliberation might signify a real battle in the jury room.

But then the judge announced that the jury had given him a note. They had reached a verdict and were in the process of filling out the verdict form.

In an instant, the smiling stopped, a smattering of gasps could be heard, and then a heavy silence filled the room. Reporters who had been packing their bags jolted upright and waited in agonizing suspense for the jury to enter the room.

There was also whiplash of a different sort: Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg almost decided against bringing the case at all. And even when he did, critics suggested its central legal theory — which involved the novel interaction of a corporate recordkeeping law and alleged 2016 election interference — might backfire. Seeing the case as flawed or weak, some liberals feared Trump would beat the charges and, in doing so, effectively dilute the power of the three other criminal cases Trump is facing: two for seeking to subvert the 2020 election and one for allegedly hoarding national security secrets at his Florida home.

Instead, Bragg may turn out to be the only prosecutor to successfully bring Trump to trial, with each of the others languishing in pretrial disputes and appeals.

“This type of white-collar prosecution is core to what we do at the Manhattan district attorney’s office,” Bragg said at a post-trial press conference.

Trump’s lawyers made clear that even as they absorbed the indignity of Trump’s guilt, they were already turning to his legal woes elsewhere. Todd Blanche, Trump’s lead attorney, requested a sentencing hearing in mid or late July so that it wouldn’t conflict with a crucial three-day hearing Trump is slated to attend in Florida related to his documents case. Trump, Blanche said, would be spending significant time in a secure facility to review some of the extraordinarily sensitive classified documents in that case.

At the same time, his lawyers will also be preparing him for an interview with a Manhattan probation officer who will help propose a sentence.