Fact Check: Judge Merchan Did NOT Say Trump Could Not Attend Barron's Graduation -- He Said It Depends On How Trial Is 'Doing On Time'

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Judge Merchan Did NOT Say Trump Could Not Attend Barron's Graduation -- He Said It Depends On How Trial Is 'Doing On Time' Not Ruled On

Did Judge Juan Merchan tell former President Donald Trump he could not attend his son Barron's high school graduation on May 17, 2024? No, that's not true: The Manhattan judge in Trump's hush-money criminal trial hasn't ruled on the request. However, Merchan did say on April 15, 2024, that if everything was going according to schedule, he was sure they would be able to adjourn the trial that day.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on X, formerly Twitter, by Rudy W. Giuliani on April 16, 2024. The post said:

Judge Merchan is a disgrace and not a judge in the tradition of Anglo-American jurists. By refusing to allow Donald J. Trump to attend his son Barron's graduation--something even guilty defendants would be allowed to do--he goes beyond the usual NYC judge selected by Democrat county bosses and is now making entirely political decisions.

Judge Merchan and his family have displayed a sick obsessive, hatred for this defendant. It explains his consistently unfair, unconstitutional and illegal decisions. He is just proving that the NYC so-called court system is part of a one-party political dictatorship. It is a disgrace and embarrassment to all New Yorkers and all fair minded Americans.

It should be thoroughly investigated (excluding members of the complicit bar association) and completely reformed. (Remember what the Knapp Commission did for the NYPD).

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Apr 17 16:07:18 2024 UTC)

The tweet by Giuliani, Trump's former lawyer, echoes a post (archived here) published by Trump on his social media platform Truth Social on April 15, 2024. It said:

Who will explain for me, to my wonderful son, Barron, who is a GREAT Student at a fantastic School, that his Dad will likely not be allowed to attend his Graduation Ceremony, something that we have been talking about for years, because a seriously Conflicted and Corrupt New York State Judge wants me in Criminal Court on a bogus 'Biden Case' which, according to virtually all Legal Scholars and Pundits, has no merit, and should NEVER have been brought. This Fake Case is solely meant to attack Crooked Joe Biden's Political Opponent, ME, who is seriously leading him in the Polls, for purposes of Election Interference. The Judge, Juan Merchan, is preventing me from proudly attending my son's Graduation. Seems very unfair, doesn't it? But this whole event is unfair. Every one of the many Fake Cases that are perpetuated by the White House in order to help the Worst President in History, by far, get Re-Elected, are UNJUST SCAMS. We won't let that happen, but we will MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

This is what the post looked like on Truth Social at the time of writing:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Apr 17 16:13:08 2024 UTC)

What judge said

The assertion that Merchan is "refusing to allow Donald J. Trump to attend his son Barron's graduation" is false. He hadn't ruled on the request as of April 17, 2024. According to the official court transcript, as reported by multiple news organizations (archived here), this is what Merchan said:

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.

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Other Lead Stories articles on claims related to Donald Trump can be found here.

Other fact check agencies have also reviewed this claim, including FactCheck.org, the Associated Press, VERIFYThis.com, Newsweek, Snopes and CBS News.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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