Trump Judge Hampers Campaign Efforts with Inflexible Scheduling

( – Former President Donald Trump’s criminal “hush-money” trial has begun and New York Judge Juan Merchan has ordered Trump to be present in the courtroom throughout the trial. The trial began on Monday, April 15th, and is expected to continue for six to eight weeks.

On Monday, Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche requested Trump be excused from the courtroom on April 25th to be present for oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding a separate case. Judge Merchan denied the request.

Blanche also requested Trump be excused from court to attend his youngest son’s graduation on May 17th. Merchan responded vaguely with “I’ll get back to you.’

Since Merchan typically does not hold court on Wednesdays, Blanche asked if Trump could be excused for campaigning on Wednesdays. Merchan did not give a straight answer, but responded with “Not if the jury is in.” The judge has indicated that if the trial should run behind, proceedings could be held on Wednesdays. Merchan threatened to have Trump arrested for missing court proceedings.

Trump spoke with reporters outside the courtroom, complaining about Merchan’s refusal to allow him “half a day to go to D.C.” to go before the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump also said he had been “looking forward” to seeing Barron graduate high school.

Trump’s newly imposed schedule will impede his presidential campaign. His aides are planning political rallies and events on weekends and Wednesdays when the court will not be in session, at least for now. Trump is considering campaigning in New York, his home state after court ends on some days. Trump delivers statements before and after court proceedings each day and continues to claim the trial is “a politically motivated effort” to hinder his campaign.

Trump is the first former president to stand trial on criminal charges. If he is convicted he would make history as the first major American presidential candidate to run as a convicted felon.

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