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Republican Elites, Not Melania, Attended Donald Trump’s Hush-Money Trial

And although the former first lady has been absent since the trial began more than four weeks ago, a long list of Republican elites and dignitaries have lined up – literally – to rally behind Trump in a room audience from the 15th floor of downtown Manhattan.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee had his largest panel yet Tuesday, as his defense team prepared to cross-examine his lawyer-turned-enemy Michael Cohen — the prosecution’s star witness in the case.

Former Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Florida Representative Byron Donalds, Representative Cory Mills of Florida, as well as Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump, and his wife and RNC co-chair Lara Trump were among the Republican allies to join the former president at the courthouse on Tuesday.


Donald Trump sits next to his lawyers Todd Blanche and Emil Bove during the former president’s criminal trial in Manhattan.

Craig Ruttle – Swimming Pool/Getty Images



Donald Trump welcomed all the support from his supporters who flocked to the grimy criminal courthouse.

“I have a lot of surrogates, and they’re very well-spoken, and they’re from all over Washington, and they’re very respected, and they think this is the biggest scam I’ve ever seen,” Trump said to journalists. in the courtroom hallway Tuesday morning as his entourage stood several feet behind him.

Outside the courthouse, Johnson criticized the trial and Cohen, saying, “No one should believe a word he says today.” »

Johnson said prosecutors had “dragged Trump here in this ridiculous prosecution” because he is “soon officially the nominee of one of the major parties in our country.”

“It’s not about justice, it’s about politics, and everyone can see that,” the Speaker of the House said.


Eric Trump listens as his father, Donald Trump, speaks to the media in the courtroom hallway during the former president’s secret criminal trial.

Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images



Eric Trump was the only Trump child to show up in court

So far, Eric Trump has been the only one of Donald Trump’s children to attend his father’s trial. The younger Trump has made a handful of court appearances.

On Monday, while sitting in the front row of the courtroom, he took the opportunity to live-tweet as Cohen was questioned by prosecutor Susan Hoffinger.

“I’ve never seen anything more rehearsed!” Eric Trump posted Cohen’s testimony on the social media site

As the courtroom was packed Tuesday, Eric Trump ceded his coveted front-row seat to Donalds.

A day earlier, when Cohen first took the witness stand Monday, Donald Trump had support in the courtroom from other right-wing loyalists, including Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, Rep. of New York Nicole Malliotakis, Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville and Iowa Attorney General Brenna. Bird and Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.


JD Vance listens as Donald Trump addresses the media in the Manhattan courthouse where his secret trial is taking place.

Mark Peterson-Pool/Getty Images



“Does a reasonable, sane person believe everything Michael Cohen says? I don’t think they should,” Vance told reporters outside the courthouse.

Florida Sen. Rick Scott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also supported Trump in court.

“They might as well call the GOP convention here,” joked MSNBC’s Katie Phang, who was also in attendance. job on X Tuesday.

Conservative media figures, including Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and Andrew Guiliani, the son of Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, also appeared in court.

Prominent left-wing media figures, like Rachel Maddow and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, also graced the courtroom.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper also attended the trial.


Former President Donald Trump speaks alongside his wife, former first lady Melania Trump, in a rare joint appearance as they arrive to vote in Florida’s primary election.

Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images



Legal experts told Business Insider that it’s Melania Trump’s presence at her husband’s trial that could be the most “powerful.” It remains to be seen whether she will show up.

The prosecution is expected to rest its case later this week.

Prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office allege that Donald Trump illegally falsified records reimbursing Cohen for a secret $130,000 payment made to adult film actor Stormy Daniels in the days before the 2016 election.

The payment, prosecutors say, was intended to buy Daniels’ silence about a one-time sexual encounter the porn star says she had with Donald Trump in a Lake Tahoe hotel suite in 2006 during a tournament celebrity golf courses. Donald Trump has denied having sex with Daniels.

Prosecutors hope Cohen’s testimony will bolster their argument that Donald Trump orchestrated the payment to Daniels as part of an illegal plot to influence the 2016 election.

“There was no crime,” Donald Trump told reporters in the courtroom hallway on Tuesday. “Everyone says there’s no crime. But I’ve been here for almost four weeks in an icebox – I call it the icebox – listening to a totally corrupt and conflicted judge.”

businessinsider

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