The former leader of the free world was dealt a courtroom blow this week when a New York judge barred Donald Trump from attending oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a case of clashing commitments, Judge Juan Merchan said Trump’s presence is required at his criminal hush money trial in Manhattan, rejecting a request from Trump’s lawyer to let him skip out. Though arguing presidential immunity before the highest court is undoubtedly a big deal, Merchan quipped that the New York trial is, too.

New York Judge Rules Trump Cannot Attend Supreme Court Arguments

Judge Juan Merchan denied Trump’s request to be excused from trial to attend the high court proceedings in Washington, D.C., on April 25th.

Source: Linkedin

“Arguing before the Supreme Court is a big deal, and I can certainly appreciate why your client would want to be there, but a trial in New York Supreme Court…is also a big deal,” Judge Merchan told Trump’s lawyer before dismissing the request.

New York Law Stands Even When It Comes To Trump

Under New York law, Trump is obligated to be present for the entirety of his trial unless granted special permission by the judge.

Source: Britannica

The former president also claimed the judge prevented him from attending his son Barron’s high school graduation in May. However, Merchan did not issue a definitive ruling on the matter.

Background on Trump’s Hush Money Trial in New York

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep their alleged affair secret ahead of the 2016 election.

Source: AP

The charges were brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whom Trump criticized for attending the trial instead of addressing crime in the city.

Michael Cohen Plead Guilty In Campaign Finance Violation Case

Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations for arranging the $130,000 payment to Daniels.

Source: Wikimedia/IowaPolitics

Cohen testified before Congress that Trump directed him to make the payment, though Trump denies the affair and directing the payment.

What the Supreme Court Will Consider Regarding Presidential Immunity

Trump’s legal team argues that presidents have absolute immunity from criminal prosecution during office.

Source: Wikimedia/Joe Ravi

However, the Supreme Court previously ruled that presidents do not have absolute immunity in civil lawsuits regarding their private conduct before taking office.

Trump’s Reaction to Being Barred From Supreme Court Arguments

Donald Trump was visibly displeased upon learning he would not be permitted to attend Supreme Court arguments regarding presidential immunity next week.

Source: The Blue Diamond Gallery

The former president accused Judge Juan Merchan of believing he was “superior” to the high court by denying Trump’s request.

Trump Argues Judge Also Hindered Him From Attending Son’s Graduation

Trump also claimed the judge prevented him from watching his son Barron graduate high school in May.

Source: The-sun

While Merchan has not yet ruled on the matter, Trump told reporters, “I was looking forward to that graduation with his mother and father there. It looks like the judge isn’t allowing me to escape this scam. It’s a scam trial.”

Trump Criticizes Manhattan District Attorney For Being in Attendance in First Trial

Trump suggested outside the courtroom, people were “being mugged and killed all day long” while Bragg was present for the trial.

Source: AP/Craig Ruttle

Proceedings on Monday primarily addressed outstanding legal issues before moving on to jury selection in the afternoon.

What Happened on the First Day of Trump’s Hush Money Trial

The trial’s first day primarily addressed legal issues before moving on to jury selection in the afternoon. Trump had hoped to attend Supreme Court arguments in D.C. next week but was denied.

Source: Court News Service

His requests to attend his son’s graduation are also uncertain. Outside court, Trump criticized the trial and D.A. Bragg. Jury selection continues Tuesday for a trial that is expected to last weeks.

Who Is Involved in the Hush Money Trial

The key players in Trump’s hush money trial include the former president himself, as well as his ex-fixer and personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

Source: AP

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, received $130,000 in hush money from Cohen just days before the 2016 election. She claims to have intimate relationships with Trump in 2006 and 2007.

Karen McDougal Also Mentioned as Part of the Hush Money Scandal

Karen McDougal, the 1998 Playmate of the Year, alleges she had a 10-month affair with Trump around the same time as Daniels.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

McDougal received $150,000 from American Media Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, for the rights to her story, but it was never published.

What Trump Is Specifically Accused of in This Case

Trump and his company are accused of knowingly and intentionally allocating funds from other accounts to reimburse Cohen for the $130,000 he paid Daniels in exchange for her silence.

Source: YouTube

Prosecutors say that Trump and his company violated state laws requiring transparent and accurate record-keeping by covering up the true purpose of these reimbursements.

Worst Case Scenario: What Should Trump Expect

If found guilty, Trump could face up to 15 years in prison for each count, though realistically, any sentence would likely be much lighter.

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For now, all eyes are on the jury selection process, which began Monday and could take days or weeks given the case’s high-profile nature.

The Judge’s Decision Stands

The no-nonsense New York judge firmly rejected Trump’s attempts to delay and avoid his hush money trial, who insisted the former president be present for each day of the criminal proceedings.

Source: Reuters

Despite Trump’s protests that other engagements take priority, Judge Merchan made clear that this trial is a “big deal” and requires Trump’s full attendance.