Friday, April 19, 2024

Judge in Trump Trial Refuses to Halt Trial for Pesach to Accommodate Orthodox Lawyers

 The judge in the criminal trial of President Trump has made a surprising decision, announcing that court will be in session during the Holiday of Passover, including on the days of Yom Tov which are Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, as well as Monday and Tuesday of the following week.

According to CNN, “prosecutor Joshua Steinglass asked Judge Juan Merchan to confirm if he intends the court go straight until 2 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday for Passover. The judge said that is his plan.”

“Trump attorney Todd Blanche said Monday asked that they do not sit on Tuesday because it’s a holiday the entire day.”

“I can appreciate it’s a holiday, the entire day for him. It’s not a court holiday,” Merchan said.

This is an extremely significant decision by Judge Merchan, because two of Trump’s lawyers are Orthodox Jews, and thus will not be able to attend the proceedings. Jews are forbidden  to do any ‘labor’ on the first two and last two days of Passover, including writing and most forms of travel.

The judge announced the scheduling decision near the closing of proceedings on Thursday afternoon.

Although this is not unheard of, it is very common for judges to accommodate the religious needs of both attorneys and litigants. Specifically in this highly unusual and historic trial, when a former president is being accused of felonies, one would have expected Merchan to be as accommodating as possible to the defense team.

There have been unverified rumors that the judge also disqualified religious Jews to be jurors, which some speculated was not due to their religion but to their tendency to be Trump supporters.

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