Judge Rules Trump Can Attend Son Barron’s High School Graduation

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
April 30, 2024Donald Trump
Judge Rules Trump Can Attend Son Barron’s High School Graduation
Former President Donald Trump and his son Barron Trump attend the funeral of former first lady Melania Trump's mother Amalija Knavs, at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Church, in Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 18, 2024. (Giogio Viera/AFP via Getty Images)

The judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s so-called “hush-money” trial said Tuesday that he can attend his son’s high school graduation in May.

At a hearing on Tuesday morning, Judge Juan Merchan granted a request from President Trump’s attorneys asking the judge to allow him to appear at his son Barron’s May 17 high graduation. The judge previously had not allowed the former president to attend a Supreme Court hearing in Washington, which occurred last week.

“We picked the jury pretty quickly,” the judge said, adding: “So Mr. Trump can certainly attend that date.”

It is not clear whether the trial will continue on May 17 while President Trump is in Florida to attend the event.

Several weeks ago, the former president was critical of the judge after he did not issue a ruling on whether he could attend his son’s high school graduation and for not allowing him to attend the Supreme Court hearing. The judge also warned President Trump that he needs to show up every day the trial is in session or there “will be an arrest.”

“I was looking forward to that graduation with his mother and father there,” President Trump told reporters at the time. “It looks like the judge isn’t going to allow me to escape this scam. It’s a scam trial.”

Also Tuesday, Judge Merchan found President Trump in contempt of the court for what he said were gag order violations for issuing multiple posts on social media and via his campaign website. He fined the former president $1,000 for nine posts, $9,000 in total, and ordered him to remove the posts, although he found that a post in which President Trump called witnesses Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels “sleaze bags” wasn’t in violation of the order.

If President Trump continues to make posts that are said to violate the gag order, the judge warned, he could face incarceration. The judge also lamented that state law prohibits him from fining the former president more.

The former president, who is in court on Tuesday, has not issued a comment on Judge Merchan’s ruling. Previously, he and his attorneys have argued it is a violation of his First Amendment rights and that he was just making posts in response to attacks in the middle of a presidential election.

“This Court rejects Defendant’s arguments and finds that the People have established the elements of criminal contempt beyond a reasonable doubt as to Exhibits 2-10,” his ruling stated. “Defendant violated the Order by making social media posts about known witnesses pertaining to their participation in this criminal proceeding and by making public statements about jurors in this criminal proceeding.”

In the case, President Trump faces 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records stemming from payments made to Ms. Daniels, who alleged that she engaged in an affair with the former president years earlier. He has denied her claims and has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say that President Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid Ms. Daniels $130,000 and allegedly covered up the expense as legal services as part of a plan to break election laws. His attorneys have argued that the payments were personal expenses, while the former president said the case, brought by Democratic District Attorney Alvin Bragg, is a form of election interference.

Court resumed Tuesday with witness Gary Farro, a banker who helped Mr. Cohen open accounts, including one that Mr. Cohen used to send a payment to Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. She alleged a 2006 affair with President Trump, which he denies.

Jurors so far have heard from two other witnesses. The former president’s ex-assistant, Rhona Graff, recounted that she recalled once seeing Ms. Clifford at President Trump’s office suite in Trump Tower and said the performer may have been a potential contestant for one of President Trump’s “Apprentice”-brand shows. Former National Enquirer publisher David Pecker laid out how he agreed to serve as the 2016 campaign’s “eyes and ears” by helping to squelch unflattering rumors.

Outside the courtroom Tuesday, President Trump criticized prosecutors again. “This is a case that should have never been brought,” he said.

“Our country’s going to hell and we sit here day after day after day, which is their plan, because they think they might be able to eke out an election,” he said last week in the courthouse hallway.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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