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Trump Can’t Skip Criminal Trial To Attend Supreme Court Argument Over Immunity, Judge Rules

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Updated Apr 15, 2024, 05:39pm EDT

Topline

Judge Juan Merchan told former President Donald Trump he must be in court next week—meaning Trump will not be present at the U.S. Supreme Court when it hears arguments about his claims of presidential immunity.

Key Facts

Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche reportedly said Trump “very much” wants to be at the Supreme Court when it hears arguments about whether he can claim presidential immunity in special counsel Jack Smith’s election interference case.

Merchan said he would “see (Trump) here next week,” telling Blanche “your client is a criminal defendant,” adding “he's required to be here. He’s not required to be in the Supreme Court,” according to multiple reports.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to consider “whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office,” and will hear arguments on April 25, next Thursday.

Chief Critic

“That I can’t go to my son’s graduation or that I can’t go to the United States Supreme Court, that I’m not in Georgia or Florida or North Carolina campaigning like I should be is perfect for the radical left Democrats, that’s exactly what they want,” Trump said in a press conference following the first day of court. “This is about election interference, that’s all it’s about.”

Key Background

Trump’s first criminal trial began Monday in New York, where he faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. Prosecutors in Manhattan allege Trump misidentified a series of payments he made to his then-attorney Michael Cohen in 2017 as legal services when, in actuality, they allege the payments were reimbursements for money Cohen paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep her from talking about an alleged affair with Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The case is one of many that Trump has been working to balance in recent months—including three other criminal trials, none of which have started yet, and at least three civil cases, including E. Jean Carroll’s defamation trial against him and his fight to remain on the Colorado ballot. Trump has repeatedly said that courts requiring him to stand trial during his campaign is a form of election interference, a claim he repeated after Merchan rejected his request to miss court next week.

Further Reading

ForbesSupreme Court Agrees To Consider Trump's Immunity Claim In Jan. 6 Criminal CaseCNNLive updates: Trump New York hush money criminal trial
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