What legal experts think of Melania’s absence from New York courtroom


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As the trial of Donald Trump over hush money payments to Stormy Daniels heads into its final stage, Trump's wife Melania Trump has been noticeably absent from the courtroom. Over the course of five weeks, a series of Trump supporters including Republican lawmakers, former administration officials, vice presidential hopefuls and a few of his own kids have been in court.

As the trial of Donald Trump over hush money payments to Stormy Daniels heads into its final stage, Trump’s wife Melania Trump has been noticeably absent from the courtroom. Over the course of five weeks, a series of Trump supporters including Republican lawmakers, former administration officials, vice presidential hopefuls and a few of his own kids have been in court.

They've sat through hours of salacious testimony as the ex-president stands trial on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment for Stormy Daniels . Melania Trump, however, has remained far away from the New York criminal court room home in Florida . Legal experts tell DailyMail.com that while it is often beneficial for a jury to see defendants with their spouse by their side in the courthouse, in this unique case it doesn't matter.

They’ve sat through hours of salacious testimony as the ex-president stands trial on 34 counts of falsifying business records related to a hush money payment for Stormy Daniels . Melania Trump, however, has remained far away from the New York criminal court room home in Florida . Legal experts tell DailyMail.com that while it is often beneficial for a jury to see defendants with their spouse by their side in the courthouse, in this unique case it doesn’t matter.

'Generally speaking, jurors pay attention to who is seated in the courtroom,' explained Anna Cominsky, Managing Attorney of New York Law School Legal Services. 'Defense attorneys usually like to have 'support' for their client evidenced by friends and family - it's something that humanizes the client. That said, this is a very different case. The jurors know that this is the former president.'

‘Generally speaking, jurors pay attention to who is seated in the courtroom,’ explained Anna Cominsky, Managing Attorney of New York Law School Legal Services. ‘Defense attorneys usually like to have ‘support’ for their client evidenced by friends and family – it’s something that humanizes the client. That said, this is a very different case. The jurors know that this is the former president.’

Cominsky also pointed out that this particular courtroom is ' completely packed with people from both sides.' She said it makes it hard for the jury to distinguish who is there for whom. Berkeley Law professor John Yoo also said he did not think her absence matters much and may perhaps have a benefit to the defense. ' I could see how some jurors would ask where Melania Trump was. Perhaps her presence would show her support for Trump's story that his fling with Stormy never happened,' he added.

Cominsky also pointed out that this particular courtroom is ‘ completely packed with people from both sides.’ She said it makes it hard for the jury to distinguish who is there for whom. Berkeley Law professor John Yoo also said he did not think her absence matters much and may perhaps have a benefit to the defense. ‘ I could see how some jurors would ask where Melania Trump was. Perhaps her presence would show her support for Trump’s story that his fling with Stormy never happened,’ he added.

'But her presence would also buy into the prosecution's underhanded effort to make the trial about Stormy [Daniels], and not about whether any bookkeeping misdemeanors occurred and whether they concealed some greater crime.' Yoo argued Trump's defense team has done a good job of attacking the failure of the prosecution to prove its case on the law. He said they were smart to keep the focus on that and not alleged affairs. Cornell law professor Randy Zelin believes no one would care and 'it would look contrived anyway.'

‘But her presence would also buy into the prosecution’s underhanded effort to make the trial about Stormy [Daniels], and not about whether any bookkeeping misdemeanors occurred and whether they concealed some greater crime.’ Yoo argued Trump’s defense team has done a good job of attacking the failure of the prosecution to prove its case on the law. He said they were smart to keep the focus on that and not alleged affairs. Cornell law professor Randy Zelin believes no one would care and ‘it would look contrived anyway.’

On Tuesday, both sides are set to give closing arguments before the case goes to jury for deliberations. While Melania has not traveled to New York to stand by her husband's side as he came face-to-face with Daniels or others testifying about the hush money payment , the former first lady has been spotted along side her embattled husband elsewhere. Earlier this month, the two sat side-by-side at their son Barron's high school graduation in Florida and the former first lady was seen smiling and clapping as Barron's name was called. Court in New York was recessed early for the week so the ex-president could attend.

On Tuesday, both sides are set to give closing arguments before the case goes to jury for deliberations. While Melania has not traveled to New York to stand by her husband’s side as he came face-to-face with Daniels or others testifying about the hush money payment , the former first lady has been spotted along side her embattled husband elsewhere. Earlier this month, the two sat side-by-side at their son Barron’s high school graduation in Florida and the former first lady was seen smiling and clapping as Barron’s name was called. Court in New York was recessed early for the week so the ex-president could attend.

Melania was also in attendance last month in a stunning purple jumpsuit for a campaign fundraiser hosted by John Paulson in Florida where the ex-president raised more than $50 million for his presidential bid. The former first lady jumped back into politics to speak at a fundraiser for the pro-conservative LGBT organization Log Cabin Republicans last month. But she has not hit the campaign trail for her husband as he holds rallies in battleground states across the country or celebrated his primary nights in early contest states.

Melania was also in attendance last month in a stunning purple jumpsuit for a campaign fundraiser hosted by John Paulson in Florida where the ex-president raised more than $50 million for his presidential bid. The former first lady jumped back into politics to speak at a fundraiser for the pro-conservative LGBT organization Log Cabin Republicans last month. But she has not hit the campaign trail for her husband as he holds rallies in battleground states across the country or celebrated his primary nights in early contest states.

When asked if she would be joining him on the campaign trail in March while joining her husband to cast ballots in the Florida GOP primary, Melania responded 'stay tuned.' DailyMail.com has inquired with the Trump campaign about any future plans for Melania to hit the campaign trail. While Melania has not been spotted in court, both of Trump's older sons Don Jr. and Eric and his daughter-in-law Lara Trump have been in attendance for some of the many hours of testimony.

When asked if she would be joining him on the campaign trail in March while joining her husband to cast ballots in the Florida GOP primary, Melania responded ‘stay tuned.’ DailyMail.com has inquired with the Trump campaign about any future plans for Melania to hit the campaign trail. While Melania has not been spotted in court, both of Trump’s older sons Don Jr. and Eric and his daughter-in-law Lara Trump have been in attendance for some of the many hours of testimony.

His sons could be seen arriving and leaving the court with their father's large entourage and sitting a few rows behind him in the courtroom. His adult daughters Ivanka and Tiffany Trump's names have come up in the testimony during the hush money trial, but they have not appeared in the courtroom to support their dad. Both live in Florida. Even without Melania's support in the courtroom, her name has surfaced across testimony from multiple witnesses.

His sons could be seen arriving and leaving the court with their father’s large entourage and sitting a few rows behind him in the courtroom. His adult daughters Ivanka and Tiffany Trump’s names have come up in the testimony during the hush money trial, but they have not appeared in the courtroom to support their dad. Both live in Florida. Even without Melania’s support in the courtroom, her name has surfaced across testimony from multiple witnesses.

During her days of lurid testimony, Daniels recalled Trump telling her in 2006 before their alleged sexual encounter that Trump told her the couple slept in separate bedrooms . Michael Cohen claimed Trump was not worried about Melania leaving him over the Daniels affair story and even claimed the then presidential candidate said 'how long do you think I'll be on the market for?' But other witnesses painted a picture of a very different relationship between the former first couple during testimony.

During her days of lurid testimony, Daniels recalled Trump telling her in 2006 before their alleged sexual encounter that Trump told her the couple slept in separate bedrooms . Michael Cohen claimed Trump was not worried about Melania leaving him over the Daniels affair story and even claimed the then presidential candidate said ‘how long do you think I’ll be on the market for?’ But other witnesses painted a picture of a very different relationship between the former first couple during testimony.

Trump's White House executive assistant said during her tearful testimony that Donald and Melania had a 'special' relationship. Madeleine Westerhout told the court she believed they had a relationship of mutual respect and Trump cared a lot about Melania's opinion. 'There was no one else who could put him in his place,' Westerhout testified. She also recalled Melania texting her asking when Trump would be coming up for dinner while they were in the White House and Trump calling Melania from the Oval Office while he was president to chat.

Trump’s White House executive assistant said during her tearful testimony that Donald and Melania had a ‘special’ relationship. Madeleine Westerhout told the court she believed they had a relationship of mutual respect and Trump cared a lot about Melania’s opinion. ‘There was no one else who could put him in his place,’ Westerhout testified. She also recalled Melania texting her asking when Trump would be coming up for dinner while they were in the White House and Trump calling Melania from the Oval Office while he was president to chat.

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