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Judge Merchan Demands Trump Appear For Every Day Of Trial, Threatens Arrest

Trump: 'Looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation of my son'

Judge Merchan Demands Trump Appear For Every Day Of Trial, Threatens Arrest

Judge Juan M. Merchan, who's presiding over President Donald Trump's alleged "hush money" case, has demanded the former president appear in person every day of his trial.

Trump's trial follows last April's charges brought against him by New York City District Attorney Alvin Bragg over alleged "hush money" payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and subsequent falsified business documents regarding funds paid to his then-attorney Michael Cohen. The former president was arrested and arraigned in a Manhattan court shortly after.

The trial also regards an infamous leaked audio from Trump's September 2005 Access Hollywood interview with Billy Bush, which featured lewd discussion of women. The recording, which was released the October before Trump was elected president in 2016, will be highlighted in the trial, though other allegations of sexual assault will not be used in the case.

Upon the trial's commencement, Merchan ordered Trump to appear in court for the duration of his trial, threatening the former president with arrest if he fails to comply.

In late March, Judge Merchan issued a gag order against Trump which prevented him from making or directing others to make statements about witnesses' roles in the case. The gag order also barred Trump from commenting on prosecutors and court staff as well as their relatives if the comments are intended to interfere with their work on the case.

In response, Trump said Judge Merchan was a "true and certified Trump Hater" and claimed he suffered from Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) in a Truth Social post.

Trump went on to criticize Merchan's daughter, noting she was a senior executive for a Democratic firm associated with California Rep. Adam Schiff and President Joe Biden, and added Merchan should therefore recuse himself from the case.


Merchan referred to Trump's request for his recusal as a "series of inferences, innuendos, and unsupported speculation."

Prosecution has argued the former president violated his gag order with three posts to his platform which mentioned imprisoned attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented Daniels in a previous case. Another post from Trump referenced a 2018 statement issued by Daniels, while a third post asked why attorneys Mark Pomerantz and Cohen had not been prosecuted.

Bragg has asked Merchan to find Trump in criminal contempt of his gag order for his posts, boasting fines of $1,000 per post.

Merchan announced he would hear arguments on the alleged gag order violations on April 24.

About 50 of the 96 prospective jurors were excused from Trump's trial after saying they could not be fair and impartial.

Several notable figures have called the trial into question, including X owner Elon Musk.

"This case is obviously a corruption of the law," Musk wrote. "Lawfare."

One supporter of the former president drove a truck decked out with Trump regalia in loops around the New York City courthouse where Trump was on trial.

Outside the courthouse, ardent Trump supporter and investigative journalist Laura Loomer led supporters of the former president in chanting "Donald Trump did nothing wrong." Loomer vowed to protest outside the court every day of the trial.

"Judge Merchan's wife literally works for Letitia James," Loomer said of New York State's attorney general, further arguing for Merchan's recusal from the case.

Loomer added others connected to the prosecution had run campaigns on "getting Trump."

"Tell me that this isn't a witch hunt," she said, echoing Trump's remarks on his legal battles.

Andrew Giuliani, an associate of Trump and son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also expressed frustration with Trump's trial, referring to it as "political persecution by prosecution of the leading candidate for President of the United States."

"They're so weak in this case that Joe Biden would not even bring this case," Giuliani continued. "It took a Soros-funded district attorney in order to bring this case."

An opponent of Trump's approached Giuliani as he spoke and attempted to hand him cash while telling Giuliani to be quiet, seemingly in reference to Trump's alleged "hush money" payment.

"We just need unbiased people here in this juror's box ... not Trump supporters, not Biden supporters," Giuliani added. "We need people who will look at the facts of this case. If they do, Trump is acquitted. It's that simple."

After court broke for the day, Trump shared an image to Truth Social declaring the trial a "persecution."

Trump later commented on Merchan's demand that the former president appear in person every day of his trial.

"Looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation of my son, who has worked very, very hard," Trump said of his son Barron.

"He's a great student. Very proud of the fact that he did so well," Trump continued. "[He] was looking forward for years to have graduation with his mother and father there. Looks like the judge isn't gonna allow me to escape this scam."

Trump then repeated his concern that he will not receive a fair trial.

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