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Trump attends son's graduation in pause from criminal trial

18 May 2024, MVT 17:12
Barron Trump, son of former US President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump, takes part in his graduation at Oxbridge Academy in Palm Beach, Florida, May 17, 2024. -- Photo: Giorgio Viera / AFP
18 May 2024, MVT 17:12

Former US president Donald Trump attended his youngest son's high school graduation on Friday after being granted a break from his criminal hush money trial in New York.

Barron Trump, 18, was graduating from Oxbridge Academy in south Florida, and the Republican leader -- who is running for a return to the White House -- was pictured watching proudly alongside third wife Melania and other parents at the private ceremony.

The former first lady has doggedly shielded her son from the glare of the media, but he was dragged into the spotlight last month as the ex-president complained that his criminal proceedings would prevent him from attending the graduation.

"Who will explain for me, to my wonderful son, Barron, who is a GREAT Student at a fantastic School, that his Dad will likely not be allowed to attend his Graduation Ceremony," Trump thundered in a social media post.

Judge Juan Merchan -- who is presiding over Trump's New York trial -- had deferred his decision on whether to allow Trump to attend but ultimately granted the request.

"Great student, wonderful boy! Very exciting!!!" Trump said shortly before the ceremony, in a post that did not acknowledge the leeway he had been allowed by the judge.

Trump has denied 34 counts of falsifying accounts in what prosecutors say was an effort during his 2016 presidential election campaign to cover up paying off a porn star who had threatened to go public about an alleged sexual encounter.

Trump has revealed that Barron intends to go to college after graduation, possibly at the Republican tycoon's alma mater, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Three of Trump's older children -- Ivanka, Don Jr. and Tiffany -- all went to Wharton, one of the country's elite business schools.

Barron made more headlines last week when it appeared he would be the latest member of the Trump family to enter the political arena as a delegate at the Republican Party convention in July.

But a statement from the former first lady's office put a stop to the plan.

"While Barron is honored to have been chosen as a delegate by the Florida Republican Party, he regretfully declines to participate due to prior commitments," it said.

Trump's New York trial is nearing its final stages and is due to resume on Monday, with the question of whether the Republican will take the stand in his own defense still unresolved.

© Agence France-Presse

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