What People Are Getting Wrong This Week: Donald Trump Trial Myths


For the first time in American history, a former president is the defendant in a felony trial, and the misinformation, rumors, and fake news are coming in hot from the Trump trial. Below are some quick fact checks of some of the many dubious claims coming out of the trial.

Donald Trump farts in court

I’m starting with the most important claim first: Donald Trump farts a lot in court and the stench is so horrendous he’s stinking up half of Manhattan. Even though many people are saying it, the source of the fart rumor is shaky. It comes from this X post from Ben Meiselas of anti-Trump organization Meidas Touch who wrote, “What I’m hearing from credible sources is that Donald Trump is actually farting in the courtroom… I’m hearing it from actual credible people that as he’s kind of falling asleep, he’s actually passing gas and that his lawyers are really struggling with the smell.” While definitely hilarious, secondhand reports from political opponents credited to “credible sources” and “actual credible people” aren’t enough. That said, he’s an old guy, reportedly with a terrible diet, and everyone farts, so it’s not impossible that Trump will fart in court in the future.

Verdict: False

Trump is on trial for making a hush money payment

With farts out of the way, let’s get down to legal business. Despite the widespread description of this as a “hush money” trial, Donald Trump is not being charged with 34 felonies for paying adult actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to not talk about an affair. There’s nothing illegal about paying someone to be quiet about having sex with you. Instead, Trump is being charged with falsifying business records related to the hush money payment. But it gets even more granular, because falsifying business records might be charged as a misdemeanor in New York, but according to the prosecution, Trump’s actions rises to the level of a multiple felonies because Trump falsified business records to conceal another, more serious crime.

Verdict: False

“Every legal scholar said this case is nonsense”

On his social media account and during his daily après-trial press harangues, Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that “every legal scholar said this this case is nonsense.” Even if we substitute “most” for “every,” it’s a dubious assertion. But some legal scholars do see problems with the case. In an op-ed published in The New York Times this week, Boston University law professor Jed Handelsman Shugerman expressed concern that the underlying crime that makes Trump’s supposed record falsifications felonies, is a federal crime, so prosecutor Bragg is essentially using a state law to prosecute a federal crime. If what Shugerman is saying is correct, this isn’t a dead-to-right, slam-dunk case like it would be if the issue was “Did Donald Trump pay a porn star to not talk about having sex with him.”

Verdict: Mixed

Joe Biden is behind the prosecution

Another oft-repeated line from Trump is that this trial (and the rest of his trials) are happening under the direction of President Biden, or, as Trump put it on Truth Social, “BIDEN’S DOJ IS RUNNING THE CASE.” There is no evidence that BIDEN’S DOJ is doing anything in connection with the case. In real life, prosector Alvin Bragg is running the case, and he is an elected state official who doesn’t report to the federal government.

Verdict: False

Judge Mechan isn’t allowing Trump to attend his child’s graduation

Trump’s legal team requested court be adjourned on May 17 so that Trump could attend Barron Trump’s graduation. Judge Juan M. Merchan hasn’t ruled on the request, saying “It really depends on how we’re doing on time and where we are in the trial.” But Trump still told reporters “It looks like the judge will not let me go to the graduation of my son,” and “I can’t go to my son’s graduation.”  

Verdict: False

Donald Trump hasn’t attended any of his children’s graduations anyway

After Trump’s posts about not being able to attend his son’s graduation, random people on X and elsewhere claimed he’d never attended any of his other children’s graduation ceremonies. This isn’t true. Snopes looked into it, and Trump was seen at both the high school and college graduation ceremonies of Don Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and Tiffany Trump. 

Verdict: False

Various other things Trump says about the case

It would take forever to debunk the many false assertions that Trump has made about this criminal case (and his other criminal cases, and his civil cases, and really everything) but here are a few of the main themes: The judge is prejudiced against him. The judge’s daughter hates him. The judge’s gag order means that he is “not allowed to talk.” George Soros has something to do with the prosecution. The jury is rigged. You get the picture. All of these things are not true, and in a general sense: Donald Trump lies all the time. 

Verdict: False

Donald Trump falls asleep in court

Donald Trump may not fart all the time during his trial, but he does fall asleep all the time. According to reputable sources within the courthouse, Trump fell asleep numerous times during the jury selection process. New York Times’ Maggie Haberman initially reported: “Trump appears to be sleeping,” and the assertion was backed up by Erik Uebelacker, a reporter for Courthouse News, Law360’s Stewart Bishop, and others who were in the room. 

Verdict: True

During his tryst with Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump demanded a “pizza with littler pizzas on top.” 

While it is possible to buy a pizza with littler pizzas on top, Donald Trump did not call room service after having sex with Stormy Daniels and say, “I want a pizza and I want the toppings on the pizza to be littler pizzas, like the size of pepperonis, but they’re actually fully pizzas, just little.” It was a joke. Although Trump does eat pizza with a knife and fork, and he did tell Stormy Daniels that her nose looked like a beet and said, “I hope all the sharks die” according to Daniels. 

Verdict: False


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