Sketch artist at Trump trial recalls the verdict’s ‘crazy moment’


The end of another day at the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump became a turning point for sketch artist Christine Cornell. The jury last Thursday had unexpected plans for her.

“I was just on the verge of … wrapping up my ‘no verdict’ drawing, and all of a sudden, I had to start all over again,” Cornell said.

“It was “a real crazy moment” when the verdict actually came down,” she said. “It was unbelievable pressure. I had to go out and finish my drawing in the hall because … they threw us out (of the courtroom).”

Cornell said that everyone in the courtroom, including the defendant, was “stunned” at the verdict.

“Mr. Trump, himself, looked a little bit stunned. As he passed me, his arms were flailing a little bit like he could not believe this had happened,” she added.

Sketching trials since the late 1970s, Cornell has covered the trials of various notable figures, including “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz, John Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman, “subway vigilante” Bernard Goetz, hotel tycoon Leona Helmsley, mob boss John Gotti, investment fraudster Bernie Maddoff, and former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos.

“Every drawing just represents a particular process that is, you know, part of the story that night,” she shared.

Given the difficulty of sightlines in the packed Trump courtroom, Cornell had to rely on fleeting glimpses of Trump.

“I would memorize him as he walked past me. I burned that image into my brain so deeply that I’d wake up in the middle of the night and Trump would walk by my bed. And I’d go ‘go away, Mr. Trump!’”

Rich Johnson
Rich Johnson
Digital Content Producer.

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