Trump And Allies Complain He’s Being Treated Like A Defendant

Former President Donald Trump and his allies raged after jury selection began Monday in his trial over a hush money payment made to an adult film star, sharing broad claims that he was being mistreated by being subject to the same rules as every standard criminal defendant before him.

Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the case, shared courtroom instructions on Monday, telling Trump that he expects him to be present every day of the trial, which could stretch to eight weeks. He warned the former president that any disruptions could result in his exclusion from the court but that any failure to show up when required could bring a warrant for his arrest.

“If you disrupt the proceedings in any way, the law permits the court to exclude you from court, commit you to jail and continue the trial in your absence,” the judge said.

Trump’s attorneys had asked for two exclusions to those rules: A recess on May 17, so the president could attend the high school graduation of his youngest son, Barron. He also asked to be able to attend the U.S. Supreme Court arguments next week as the justices consider his broad claims of presidential immunity, which he hopes will result in the dismissal of some of the cases against him.

Merchan said he would not yet rule on a recess for Barron Trump’s graduation until he could determine whether the trial was running on schedule but said he could not attend the Supreme Court hearing as he had other obligations.

“He’s required to be here,” the judge said Monday. “He’s not required to be in the Supreme Court.”

Despite those standard procedures, Merchan’s decision sparked immediate consternation from Trump and his allies.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the chair of the House GOP conference, called Merchan “corrupt” and said his order amounted to “total election interference.”

Trump continued his social media attacks against the proceedings, which will take place as he campaigns for presidency.

“Who will explain for me, to my wonderful son, Barron, who is a GREAT Student at a fantastic School, that his Dad will likely not be allowed to attend his Graduation Ceremony, something that we have been talking about for years, because a seriously Conflicted and Corrupt New York State Judge wants me in Criminal Court,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

He went on to lament that he won’t be able to appear at the Supreme Court for what he called a “historic” argument in front of the justices, saying the decision showed “great disdain and disrespect for our Nation’s Highest Court.”

Oral arguments before the court are subject to strict rules, and only a party’s attorneys are allowed to speak.

Trump’s eldest son had a terse response after Merchan wouldn’t immediately give his father a pass to attend Barron’s graduation.

“Pure evil,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote on X.



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