'New Reality' for Trump: Judge Sets His Schedule

Former president is chafing at restrictions imposed in New York trial
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2024 11:18 AM CDT
'New Reality' for Trump: Judge Sets His Schedule
Former President Trump arrives for the start of the second day of jury selection at Manhattan criminal court Tuesday, April 16, 2024, in New York.   (Justin Lane/Pool Photo via AP)

As his hush-money trial continues in New York, Donald Trump is confronting what Kyle Cheney at Politico calls a "jarring new reality" for the former president: "Criminal defendants don't get to set their own schedules." On three different occasions Monday, Judge Juan Merchan sounded a pessimistic note on whether Trump can skip court for other obligations, including Supreme Court arguments in April and son Barron's high school graduation in May. Trump's lawyers also asked if he could be exempt on Wednesdays when the court is typically dark, but Merchan offered no guarantees, warning that Trump's presence would be required "for any proceedings that involve the jury," per Deadline.

On the Supreme Court matter, Merchan acknowledged that it's a "big deal," but he added that a trial in New York Supreme Court "is also a big deal," per the BBC. Trump complained about the restrictions later, especially about son Barron, though Merchan has not definitively ruled that one out yet. All told, this is a new world for the former president, writes Cheney. "Although Trump has been a criminal defendant for more than a year, he's rarely been required to show up to court and indeed has routinely skipped pretrial proceedings in the four criminal cases he's facing," he notes. Things have changed, though these trial restrictions "will seem trifling" if Trump were to wind up with a jail term, adds Cheney.

  • From the right: The judge "is essentially preventing Trump from campaigning for president," writes Matt Margolis at PJ Media, who sees the trial as a clear-cut case of "election interference." On the bright side for the former president, however: "Something tells me Trump will raise a decent amount of campaign donations this week."
(More Trump hush-money trial stories.)

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