Did Eric Trump break court rules? Trump’s son fires off tweet about Michael Cohen from trial

Defendant’s offspring complained witness was too well ‘rehearsed’ in X post submitted during Monday’s proceedings, despite phones being banned from courtroom

Joe Sommerlad
Tuesday 14 May 2024 15:43
Eric Trump refuses to answer when asked if his father signed off on all expenses

Donald Trump’s middle son Eric Trump could be in trouble after tweeting from Manhattan Criminal Court on Monday as he sat to observe the first day of Michael Cohen’s testimony at his father’s hush money trial.

“I have never seen anything more rehearsed,” the former president’s son posted on X at 10.51am local time, presumably referring to Cohen’s performance on the witness stand, during which the former attorney calmly laid out how he paid the $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016 at his boss’s behest and sought to be reimbursed.

Eric Trump was sitting directly behind the defendant at the time of the tweet, flanked by Mr Trump’s legal spokesperson Alina Habba on his right and two Secret Service agents to his left.

The court does not allow the use of mobile phones within its walls when proceedings are active and Judge Juan Merchan has already admonished a member of the press for taking a photograph on their phone inside court, even before that day’s session was underway.

Court officers have since clarified that mobiles are banned in the courtroom, even among journalists, although credentialed press members are permitted to use their laptops when reporting, and lawyers for the prosecution and defence on the front bench are exempt from the rule.

It is not yet clear whether Judge Merchan will choose to address the tweet, which NBC News reporter Daniel Arkin first noticed, but he has already fined Mr Trump himself $10,000 for violating the gag order placed on him to protect the integrity of the proceedings and prevent the intimidation of witnesses and staff.

The former president’s son followed up his appearance in court by appearing on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show on Monday night.

There, he again rubbished the case against his father, declined to be drawn on details about who signed the cheques at the Trump Organization, and repeated the highly dubious claim that New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen could not have drawn the crowd Mr Trump attracted to his rally in Wildwood on the Jersey Shore on Saturday night.

Eric Trump, the son of former US president Donald Trump, attends his father’s criminal trial in New York on Monday 13 May 2024 (Reuters)

He is the only member of his family to have attended the trial so far, with the defendant’s wife Melania Trump particularly conspicuous by her absence, especially since Cohen addressed her reaction to the hush money affair during his testimony.

There have been few pro-Trump demonstrators outside the courtroom either, much to the Republican presidential candidate’s reported chagrin, but a number of his political allies have begun to appear to show their support, some of whom are in contention to be his 2024 running mate.

On Monday, GOP senators JD Vance and Tommy Tuberville were there and, on Tuesday, House speaker Mike Johnson, North Dakota governor Doug Burgum and former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy were among those expected to show their faces, apparently as an endorsement of the candidate’s complaint that the trial is a “scam” and a “hoax” being orchestrated by his enemies to thwart his latest run for the White House.

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