Trump Is Furious He May Not Get Day Off Trial for Barron's Graduation

Angela Weiss - Pool/Getty Image
Angela Weiss - Pool/Getty Image

Donald Trump may not be given a day off from his criminal hush money trial to attend his son Barron’s high school graduation in Florida, Judge Juan Merchan said on Monday.

The former president had asked for the proceedings to be suspended on Friday, May 17 so he could attend the ceremony, but his request fell flat.

“It really depends on if we are on time and where we are in the trial,” Merchan said, without ruling explicitly on the request.

If Trump plays hooky and attends the graduation anyway, he will be jailed, Merchan added.

After the day’s proceedings concluded, Trump addressed reporters in the hallway outside the courtroom.

“Looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation of my son who’s worked very, very hard, and he is a great student,” Trump said. “I’m very proud that he did so well and I’m looking—[he] was looking forward for years to have his graduation with his mother and father there. It looks like the judge will not allow me to escape this scam, the scam trial.”

Trump then complained that he was not being afforded a fair shake, rambling about his “presidential immunity” claim pending before the Supreme Court, people across the United States “being mugged and killed all day long” while prosecutors handle his case.

“It’s perfect for the radical left Democrats—that’s exactly what they want,” he added. “This is about election interference, and that’s all it’s about.”

He quickly posted a similar screed to his Truth Social account, inquiring in part: “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?”

“Seems very unfair, doesn’t it? But this whole event is unfair,” he added.

Trump on Monday became the first former U.S. president to face a criminal trial, after being charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg with 34 felony counts for falsifying business records in an alleged coverup of a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

The embattled ex-president also began the day with a bitter diatribe about the trial, addressing reporters gathered outside the 15th-floor courtroom with a firehose of misinformation about the situation being “political persecution... like never before,” and that it was not a prosecution of him for something he did wrong, but rather, “an assault on America.”

“And that’s why I’m very proud to be here,” he said. “This is an assault on our country. And it’s a country that’s failing.”

Trump was spotted falling asleep at the defense table during the morning session, and again seemed to doze off after lunch, sitting with his arms crossed tightly and his eyes shut. He did not move for nearly three minutes, save for his head lolling to one side, before suddenly snapping awake and shifting around in an irritated manner.

Prosecutors earlier asked Merchan to enforce a gag order they say Trump recently violated at least three times, with social media posts going after, among others, his own former lawyer and trial witness Michael Cohen. They requested Merchan fine Trump $1,000 for each offending post, and although the judge did not yet make a decision on next steps, he reminded Trump that further violations “could result in jail time.” he reminded.

Trump has denied the charges. Jury selection began Monday, with more than half of nearly 100 prospective jurors being dismissed after they said they could not be impartial. The proceedings later adjourned for the day without any jurors having been chosen.

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