Is Trump’s Napping Going to Affect His Chances at Trial?

Is Trump’s Napping Going to Affect His Chances at Trial?
Is Trump’s Napping Going to Affect His Chances at Trial?
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Former President Trump, seen here at the White House in 2017, has been appearing to snooze in court. That won’t play well with the jury, experts said.
SAUL LOEB/Getty Images
  • Trump’s been closing his eyes in court. Could his sleepy demeanor sway the verdict?
  • Legal experts said jurors take their jobs very seriously and this trial is unprecedented.
  • “That is a proverbial middle finger to the jury,” one defense attorney told BI.

There’s been a lot of talk about former President Donald Trump appearing to doze off during his hush-money trial.

But could his naps sway the jury?

Jurors will likely feel slighted by Trump’s snoozing, legal experts told Business Insider.

And while closing your eyes during a criminal trial wouldn’t result in a conviction in itself, Trump’s naps aren’t going to help if any of the jurors are on the fence.

In the opening days of his hush-money trial, Trump closed his eyes for minutes at a time before jolting back up.

Since then, it’s been the same story: Trump’s been spotted with his eyes closed, his head tilted, appearing to nod off during the trial.

Even during the testimony of prosecutors’ key witness, Michael Cohen, Trump appeared to be napped in court.

The former President has denied falling asleep in the courtroom.

“I simply close my beautiful blue eyes, sometimes, listen intensely, and take it ALL in!!!” he explained on Truth Social earlier this month.

But he might be wise to keep them open in the future, legal experts told BI.

‘They will hold that against him’

Gene Rossi, a former litigator with the Department of Justice, told Business Insider that in the 110 cases he’s tried, all the jurors took their jobs very seriously.

“If they sense that the defendant is essentially blowing it off and not taking it seriously like an eighth grader, they will hold that against him,” Rossi said. “End of story.”

Donald Trump at the defense table in his Manhattan hush money trial with attorney Emil Bove.
Reuters/Jane Rosenberg

“That is a proverbial middle finger to the jury,” agreed Jeremy Saland, a former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney and current defense lawyer, who said dozing off would be a “foolish, dangerous way to handle yourself in that courtroom.”

For his part, Rossi said he advises clients to be engaged and respectful “like they are in church listening to a sermon by the Pope.”

Jurors had to go through a rigorous selection process and are giving up weeks of their lives to hear testimony.

But these proceedings carry unprecedented weight, Saland said.

There’s all the news coverage, not to mention the sheer magnitude of deciding the first criminal trial of a former US president — who could still become the next President if he wins this year.

Saland said Trump’s demeanor shouldn’t impact his verdict — which will ultimately boil down to the evidence. But it could be risky if deliberations get closed, he said.

“You should think that the system is there and has enough accountability and integrity that they won’t hold it against him,” he said, “but it certainly will not favor him.”

Lawyers for Trump and members of his campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment from Business Insider.



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