(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump is seeking to spin his criminal conviction into gold with an appeal to donors to contribute money to his newly embattled presidential campaign.

The appeal, which refers to Trump as a “political prisoner,” was posted online just minutes after a jury found him guilty on all 34 counts in a case dealing with the mishandling of business records to cover up hush-money payments to an adult film actress.

“They’ve raided my home, arrested me, took my mugshot, AND NOW THEY’VE JUST CONVICTED ME!,” a fundraising appeal says. “Before the day is over, I’m calling on TEN MILLION pro-Trump patriots to chip in.”

Never miss an episode. Follow The Big Take daily podcast today. 

WinRed, the site the Republican party uses to collect online donations, displayed error messages at times on Thursday evening, with some pages Trump uses to appeal to donors telling visitors the site was under maintenance. A representative for WinRed did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

The Trump campaign is hoping the verdict will compel small-dollar donors to give more money. Some of Trump’s biggest online fundraising days have fed off his legal troubles, including raising $15.4 million in the days following his indictment on the hush-money charges. 

President Joe Biden’s campaign is also employing the same strategy, posting on X, the site formerly known as Twitter: “There’s only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: At the ballot box. Donate to our campaign today.”

The Trump campaign reported raising millions after the former president was indicted on counts related to mishandling classified materials and after his arrest in Georgia over efforts to overturn the 2020 election, when a widely publicized mug shot was taken at Fulton County jail.

What’s less clear is how wealthy donors and business interest will react to the verdict. The campaign worked to ramp up fundraisers with mega-donors in April and May, seeking to raise money before a jury decision that could dissuade deep-pocketed donors from contributing, according to a person familiar with the campaign’s thinking.

Donor Decisions

Shaun Maguire, a partner at Sequoia Capital, which has backed several of Elon Musk’s companies, said that he was donating $300,000 to Trump after the verdict. 

“The timing isn’t a coincidence,” Maguire wrote in a post on X, Musk’s social network. “The media will probably demonize me, as they have so many others before me,” he wrote. “But despite this, I still believe it’s the right thing to do.” The sentiment was lauded by Trump donor David Sacks, another venture capital investor, who is holding a fundraiser for the former president at his San Francisco home in June.

Trump’s fundraising operation has notched several wins in recent weeks, including raising $76 million in April, $25 million more than Biden raised that month. He’s also garnered the support of billionaire Miriam Adelson and Blackstone Inc. Chief Executive Officer Steve Schwarzman, two of the largest Republican donors. Trump also raised $40 million during a Texas swing, much of which came from oil and gas industry executives, including Continental Resources Inc.’s Chairman Harold Hamm.

Trump is also tapping donors to fund his ongoing legal bills. He faces three other criminal indictments, but those have yet to be scheduled for trial.

Donors who write large checks also have $5,000 of their contributions go to Save America, a political action committee which has been paying Trump’s legal bills, with the remainder split between Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee — which has a dedicated legal account he could tap to pay his lawyers — and state parties.

Another entity, the Patriot Legal Defense Fund, was set up in 2023 to pay legal bills incurred by former campaign and administration staffers caught up in Trump’s legal cases. It’s raising money through a GoFundMe page set up in response to the civil fraud case brought by New York State, which resulted in a judgment against him that totaled $454 million.

The Patriot Legal Defense Fund has raised about $2 million through its GoFundMe page, which was set up by Elena Cardone, a Trump supporter and businesswoman, after the judgment was issued in February. There have been 33,900 contributions so far, with donors being promised that all the money will be used in connection with the civil fraud case. 

“President Trump is facing an unprecedented weaponization of our nation’s legal system,” Cardone and her husband, entrepreneur Grant Cardone, said in a statement, adding that the GoFundMe will continue to raise money to support him. The fund did not respond to a request for comment.

--With assistance from Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Sarah McBride.

(Updates with Maguire comments under the first subhead)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.