Fact Check: Hush-Money Trial Judge Did NOT Say To Trump, 'You Didn't Attend The Graduations Of Your Other Four Children'

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Hush-Money Trial Judge Did NOT Say To Trump, 'You Didn't Attend The Graduations Of Your Other Four Children' Didn't Say It

Did the hush-money trial judge say that Donald Trump missed the graduations of his older children, in response to the former president's request that he be allowed to attend youngest son Barron's graduation? No, that's not true: As previously published court transcripts show, the judge did not bring up Trump's graduation attendance record. As of this writing, the trial's schedule for May 2024 hasn't been finalized.

The claim appeared in a post (saved here) published on Threads on April 20, 2024. It showed a poster featuring an alleged exchange between Trump and the judge:

TRUMP: I need to go to Barron's graduation!!!

JUDGE: Sir, you didn't attend the graduations of your other 4 children...

This is what it looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-04-22 at 11.36.01 AM.png

(Source: Threads screenshot taken on Mon Apr 22 15:38:21 2024 UTC)

Public records chronicling key developments in the criminal case IND-71543-23/001 are available via the New York State Unified Court System. Known as the "hush money" trial, it involves charges that Trump falsified business records to hide payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels.

When a similar claim (archived here) - that the judge refused Trump's request for a recess to allow him to attend his son's graduation - started to circulate on social media earlier in April 2024, journalists needed to individually request transcripts since blanket access to the pretrial minutes was not provided. But since it covers the same topic, Lead Stories will rely on previously published excerpts while we await transcript copies.

The excerpt obtained (archived here) by CBS News' Graham Kates showed that Judge Juan M. Merchan did not mention anything related to Trump's older children or his parental style:

Regarding counsel's request that the Court adjourn on Friday, May 17th for Mr. Trump to attend his son's high school graduation and Friday June 3rd to allow a member of the defense team to attend their son's graduation, I cannot rule on those two requests at this time. It really depends on how we are doing on time and where we are in the trial. If everything is going according to schedule without unnecessary delays, then I am sure we will be able to adjourn for one or both of those days, but if we are running behind schedule, we will not be able to.

As the quote above illustrates, the judge did not prohibit Trump from attending his son's graduation, made no remarks on his previous behaviors and didn't decide that day's court schedule.

As of April 22, 2024, the dates of May sessions in this trial haven't been published. The date of the high school graducation is reported to be May 17

A search across the websites indexed by Google News for the exact phrase (archived here) attributed to the judge in the post on Threads did not produce exact matches confirming that those words were actually said in the courtroom.

Furthermore, Snopes (archived here) previously reported that, contrary to the implications of the claim, Trump did attend at least some of his older children's graduation ceremonies in the past.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about Donald Trump can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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