Donald Trump has been found guilty. Here's what happens next.

Donald Trump has become the first US president to be convicted of a crime after a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

After deliberations over two days, the 12-member jury announced on Thursday it had found Trump guilty on all 34 counts he faced. Unanimity was required for any verdict.

Trump watched the jurors dispassionately as they were polled to confirm the guilty verdict.

Trump exiting the court after being found guilty. Image: Getty


Justice Juan Merchan set sentencing for July 11, three days before the start of the Republican National Convention expected to formally nominate Trump for president.

Merchan thanked the jurors for their service. "Nobody can make you do anything you don't want to do. The choice is yours," Merchan said.

The verdict plunges the United States into unexplored territory ahead of the November 5 presidential election, when Trump, the Republican candidate, will try to win the White House back from Democratic President Joe Biden.

Trump, 77, has denied wrongdoing and was expected to appeal.

"This was a disgrace. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who is corrupt," Trump told reporters afterwards.

"The real verdict is going to be November 5 by the people," Trump said, adding: "I am a very innocent man."

Listen to this episode of The Quicky, which covers Donald Trump's latest conviction here. Post continues below.

He faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, though others convicted of that crime often receive shorter sentences, fines or probation. Incarceration would not prevent him from campaigning, or taking office if he were to win.

Opinion polls show Trump and Biden, 81, locked in a tight race, and Reuters/Ipsos polling has found that a guilty verdict could cost Trump some support from independent and Republican voters.


Trump's fellow Republicans quickly condemned the verdict. "Today is a shameful day in American history," House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson said in a prepared statement.

The jury found Trump guilty of falsifying business documents after sitting through a five-week trial that featured explicit testimony from porn star Stormy Daniels about a sexual encounter she says she had with Trump in 2006 while he was married to his current wife Melania. Trump denies ever having sex with Daniels.

Trump's then-fixer Michael Cohen testified that Trump approved a $US130,000 ($A196,000) hush money payment to Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 election, when he faced multiple accusations of sexual misbehaviour.

Cohen testified he handled the payment, and that Trump approved a plan to reimburse him through monthly payments disguised as legal work. Trump's lawyers hammered Cohen's credibility, highlighting his criminal record and imprisonment and his history of lying.

Stormy Daniels was at the centre of the case. Image: Getty


Falsifying business documents is normally a misdemeanour in New York, but prosecutors in Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office elevated it to a felony on grounds that Trump was concealing an illegal campaign contribution.

Trump complained that he could not get a fair trial in his heavily Democratic hometown.

The case was widely regarded as the least consequential of the four criminal prosecutions Trump faces. Jurors heard testimony of sex and lies that have been public since 2018, although the charges themselves rested on ledger accounts and other records of Cohen's reimbursement.

It was known as the "zombie case" because Bragg brought it back to life after his predecessor opted not to bring charges. This case was also likely to be the only one to go to trial before the election, as the others are delayed by procedural challenges.


If elected, Trump could shut down the two federal cases that accuse him of illegally trying to overturn his 2020 election loss and mishandling classified documents after leaving office in 2021. He would not have the power to stop a separate election-subversion case taking place in Georgia.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all the cases, and has portrayed his various legal troubles as an effort by Biden's Democratic allies to hurt him politically.

A timeline of the Stormy Daniels hush money case.

January 2018.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Trump arranged the payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016 to prevent her from discussing the alleged 2006 sexual liaison. Trump married his third wife, Melania Trump, in 2005.

Trump has repeatedly denied having sex with Daniels, whose given name is Stephanie Clifford.

February 2018.

Michael Cohen, a former private lawyer and fixer for Trump, says he paid Daniels using his own money and was not directed by Trump's company or campaign to make the payment. He says Trump never reimbursed him for the payment.

Cohen would later contradict both statements under oath, stating that Trump did, in fact, direct him to make the payment and reimbursed him.

The New Yorker magazine reports that Trump had an affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal from 2006 to 2007. The magazine said American Media Inc, publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid, paid McDougal $US150,000 ($A226,000) for exclusive rights to her story shortly after Trump became the Republican nominee for president in 2016.

The National Enquirer never published the story.


April 2018.

Trump, asked by reporters if he knew about the payment to Daniels, responds, "No." Asked why Cohen made the payment, Trump says, "You'll have to ask Michael Cohen."

May 2018. 

In an ethics disclosure, Trump acknowledges reimbursing Cohen for the $US130,000 ($A195,796) paid to Daniels.

July 2018. 

Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump's personal lawyers at the time, says Cohen recorded a conversation with Trump two months before the 2016 election in which the two discussed a potential payment to McDougal. Trump denies wrongdoing and calls Cohen's tape "perhaps illegal."

August 2018. 

Cohen pleads guilty to criminal charges in federal court in Manhattan, including campaign finance violations over the hush money payments to Daniels and McDougal. He testifies that Trump directed him to make the payments "for the principal purpose of influencing the election."

In their indictment of Cohen, prosecutors say a candidate for federal office referred to as "Individual-1," whom they later confirmed was Trump, arranged the payments. Federal prosecutors did not charge Trump with a crime.

December 2018. 

Trump calls the hush money payments a "simple private transaction." In an interview with Reuters, he says the payment to Daniels "wasn't a campaign contribution" and "there was no violation based on what we did."

July 2021. 

Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney at the time, charges Trump's New York-based family real estate company, the Trump Organisation, and its top financial executive with tax fraud. Trump himself is not charged, and the indictment contains no references to hush money payments.


December 2022.

The Trump Organisation is found guilty of tax fraud after a trial in New York state court in Manhattan.

January 2023.

Vance's successor as Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, begins presenting evidence of Trump's alleged role in the 2016 hush money payments to a grand jury.

March 2023. 

Bragg's office says Trump has been indicted. The specific charges remain under seal.

April 2023.

The indictment is unsealed. It charges Trump with falsely claiming in records held by the Trump Organisation that his 2017 reimbursements to Cohen for the Daniels payment were legal expenses.

Prosecutors say the fabricated records were designed to conceal the payment, which they characterised as part of a scheme to corrupt the 2016 election. Trump won the presidency that year, defeating Hillary Clinton, a Democrat.

Trump pleads not guilty to the charges and later tells supporters gathered outside his home in Florida that he was the victim of "election interference," without providing evidence.

Jury selection begins for Trump's trial. By April 19, lawyers for both sides finish choosing 12 jurors and six alternates to hear the case.

May 29, 2024.

Jury begins deliberations in the case.

May 30, 2024.

Jury convicts Trump after two days of deliberation.

- AAP.

Image: Getty.