Where's Trump? Not in either Manhattan courtrooms where his hush-money and rape cases awaited him Thursday

Where's Trump? Not in either Manhattan courtrooms where his hush-money and rape cases awaited him Thursday
Former U.S. President Donald Trump during a round of golf at his Turnberry course on May 2, 2023 in Turnberry, Scotland.Robert Perry/Getty Images
  • Trump golfed in Ireland rather than attend two significant Manhattan court cases docketed Thursday.
  • He continued to skip the E. Jean Carroll rape-defamation case now wrapping in federal court.

Donald Trump played golf in County Clare, Ireland on Thursday, rather than fight civil rape accusations and criminal document-fraud charges in separate courtrooms in rainy Manhattan.

The former president had empty seats awaiting him, should he have chosen to sit in them, at defense tables in two courthouses just one block apart.

But his lawyers waived his appearance, on his behalf, at both a state-level "hush-money" prosecution hearing and at his ongoing federal E. Jean Carroll rape-defamation civil trial, now nearing the end of testimony.

Trump was actually double-booked, legally speaking, in the morning itself.

First on the docket was his "hush money" prosecution, set for 9:30 a.m.


Trump missed a busy hearing in the same courtroom where, exactly a month ago, he'd been arraigned on 34 counts of falsifying business records, allegedly for covering up a $130,000 non-disclosure payment that silenced porn star Stormy Daniels two weeks before the 2016 election.

Manhattan prosecutors, defense lawyers, and state Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan worked hard in Trump's absence.

The judge told the parties to agree on a trial date that may also muck up his travel schedule, as it will be smack in the middle of primary season.

"I'm going to ask both parties to come together and agree to a date in February or March of 2024," the judge instructed. Once the date is set, the judge added, Trump cannot agree to anything that will interfere with his appearing at trial.

In other hush-money prosecution developments — all, again, missed by Trump — defense lawyer Todd Blanche set off a small, figurative bombshell, announcing "the defendant will file something today seeking to move this case to federal court."


And Trump's ears would have been ringing throughout the rest of the hearing, as the two sides debated just how short a leash, legally speaking, Trump would be kept on after prosecutors share a giant tranche of cellphone, email and grand jury evidence with the defense.

Agreeing with prosecutors, Merchan said he wants Trump banned from making public revelations about the most private and personal of these materials, including witness contact information and photos of the interior of the home of star witness Michael Cohen, two examples mentioned in court.

"Obviously, Mr. Trump is different," the judge said.

"He is a former president of the United States and he is running for president of the United States," the judge said, noting both Trump's pulpit on the world stage and his propensity for making inflammatory statements about the case, including a prior warning of "death and destruction" should he be indicted.

Trump was asked by Irish reporters whether he was showing 'disrespect' to the court

All this happened as the Carroll trial was starting its day, one block south, in federal court, where a civil jury, unable to see or hear from Trump in person, watched snippets from his deposition.


Trump's lawyers are fighting a lawsuit by former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, who sued Trump for battery in an alleged mid-90s rape, and for defamation for calling her a liar.

Carroll has testified Trump overpowered her in a dressing room after running into him by chance at the Bergdorf Goodman department store after she jokingly agreed to help him shop for lingerie.

"It didn't happen," Trump insists in the deposition, taken at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, in October.

"If it did happen," the video version of Trump added, "it would have been reported in minutes" because Bergdorf Goodman — where he admitted he shopped "rarely" — is a "very busy store." The luxury department store is located just a block from Trump Tower.

Where was Trump throughout all this?


He spent the morning wrapping a trip to the Doonbeg golf resort, according to Irish reports.

"I will probably attend," he told reporters of the Carroll trial.

"And I think it's a disgrace that it's allowed to happen, false accusations against a rich guy, or in my case against a famous, rich and political person," he complained, according to RTE News.

He was at his resort in Turnberry, Scotland, earlier this week.

When Irish reporters asked Trump why he wasn't attending his Manhattan civil trial, he responded, "Because we have a longstanding agreement to come here."


"We've had a tremendous reception, a beautiful reception. The people of Ireland have been great."

When one reporter asked whether he was showing "disrespect" to the court, Trump walked away.