Former President Donald Trump faces legal action in the New York Supreme Court after his lawyer asked the presiding judge if he was exempt from appearing in person for the next hearing of his ongoing case. Justice Juan Merchan firmly told Trump’s lawyers that all defendants must show up for their court hearings, regardless of their profile and refused to make an exception for the former president.
On Tuesday, court-goers noticed the barricades and “Do Not Park” signs around Trump Tower and near the Manhattan courthouse ahead of then-President’s appearance. According to Trump lawyer Todd Blanche, the defendant’s appearances in court are both expensive and burdensome to New York City. Ultimately, Justice Merchan denied the request in the interest of enforcing law evenly and set the next hearing on December 4.
The charges Trump faces are the result of a multi-year investigation into his finances and business dealings during the 2016 election. Prosecutors allege that the former president arranged for his personal attorney Michael Cohen to pay adult film actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 before the election for her silence about a 2006 sexual encounter between the two. Cohen pleaded guilty to arranging the payment and was granted early release from a three-year prison sentence due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Trump pleaded not guilty to all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.