Months before the United States general election, a New York jury found the front-running Republican candidate and former President Donald Trump guilty of all charges in his hush-money case, making him the first former US president to be convicted of a crime. Trump was convicted of falsifying business records to reimburse his lawyer, Michael Cohen, for a $130,000 payment to Daniels on the eve of the 2016 election, when her claim to have had sex with him could have proved fatal to his campaign against Hillary Clinton.

The 77-year-old Republican was found guilty by the jury on all 34 counts of fabricating company documents to conceal a payment intended to hush porn star Stormy Daniels. Although probation is more likely, he might theoretically receive a four-year prison sentence for each count. Trump was however released without bail and is now a felon, a historic and shocking first. In a nation where presidents are commonly referred to as the most powerful man in the world

Trump's campaign released a fundraising appeal headed "I am a political prisoner!" shortly after the verdict was rendered. He also declared that early on Friday, he will address the media in public.

Even in the rare case that he is sent to prison, Trump is still free to continue his campaign to unseat President Joe Biden in November.

"I'm a very innocent man," Trump told reporters, vowing that the "real verdict" would come from voters. He branded the trial "rigged" and a "disgrace."

US President, Joe Biden's campaign issued a statement saying the trial showed "no one is above the law." It added that "the threat Trump poses to our democracy has never been greater."

Judge Juan Merchan set sentencing for July 11 -- four days before the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where Trump is due to receive the party's formal nomination.

The 12-member jury deliberated for more than 11 hours over two days before the foreman read out the unanimous conclusion within minutes.

Merchan thanked the jurors for completing the "difficult and stressful task."

Their identities had been kept secret throughout proceedings, a rare practice more often seen in cases involving mafia or other violent defendants.

Trump also faces federal and state charges of conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election won by Biden, and for hoarding secret documents after leaving the White House. However, those trials on far weightier alleged crimes are unlikely to get underway before the presidential election.