Trump, at new rally, demands felony conviction reversal

Donald Trump has returned to the campaign trail with a trip to Arizona, his first appearance in a battleground state since he was convicted in a hush money scandal

He repeated his critiques of the case against him as politically motivated and calling for his conviction to be overturned on appeal.

"Those appellate courts have to step up and straighten things out or we're not going to have a country anymore," Trump said on Thursday at a Phoenix town hall organised by Turning Point, a conservative youth organisation that has seen its influence rise alongside Trump's takeover of the GOP.

Donald Trump
Trump's conviction infuriated his supporters, who pumped millions of dollars into his campaign. (EPA PHOTO)

Trump is expected to appeal his conviction on all 34 charges in his New York hush money trial, in which he became the first former US president to be convicted of felony crimes.

He responded defiantly to the verdict against him a day after a New York jury found him guilty last week of a scheme to illegally influence the 2016 election through a hush money payment to a porn actor but had not spoken directly to the swing-state voters who will decide the November election until Thursday, when he used a profanity to decry the "fake" and politically motivated case against him.

Trump's conviction infuriated his supporters, who pumped tens of millions of dollars into his campaign in the immediate aftermath. Trump blames his conviction on President Joe Biden, though the case was brought by the locally elected district attorney in New York, and many of his allies are calling for revenge.

Biden won Arizona in 2020 by about 10,000 votes. It was, along with Georgia, one of two states decided by less than half a percentage point and is expected to be close again this year.

Ahead of Trump's visit, Biden's allies in Arizona blamed the former president for overturning the national constitutional right to an abortion and defeating a bipartisan border security bill.

Despite the state's importance on the presidential map, Trump has not campaigned in Arizona since 2022, when he held a rally to support his slate of midterm candidates, all of whom ended up losing.

Trump's trip west includes several private fundraisers and a rally on Sunday in Nevada, another battleground state he lost narrowly in 2020.