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Trump Falls Asleep During Hush-Money Trial

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Jury Selection Begins In Former President Donald Trump’s New York Hush Money Trial

In this April 15, 2024, courtroom photo, Trump is shown looking down, not sleeping — but you can use your imagination.
Photo: Jabin Botsford-Pool/Getty Images

“Sleepy Joe” was always a low-energy Trump nickname. Donald Trump’s derisive name for Joe Biden never had the zing of “Crooked Hillary” or “Liddle Marco,” and it was too similar to other Trump nicknames like “Sleepin’ Bob” Casey and “Sleepy Eyes” Chuck Todd. Now there’s a new problem with it that no one anticipated: It’s easy to turn it back on “Sleepy Don” when he nods off during a criminal trial over hush-money payments he allegedly made to cover up an affair with a porn star.

During day one of Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan, which will determine whether he broke the law by paying off Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election, then disguising the payments, the former president reportedly fell asleep in the courtroom. Maggie Haberman wrote on the New York Times’ trial liveblog:

Trump appears to be sleeping. His head keeps dropping down and his mouth goes slack.

Haberman said Trump was roused a short time later:

Trump has apparently jolted back awake, noticing the notes his lawyer passed him several minutes ago.

Stewart Bishop, a reporter for Law360 who was in the courtroom, made the same observation:

Courthouse News reporter Erik Uebelacker, who was watching from the overflow room, agreed:

In an interview during a break, Haberman told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Trump looked sleepy during previous court appearances but this incident was worse:

While there are sketch artists present and there were some photos taken of Trump at the beginning of the proceedings, there is no audio or video broadcast of the trial. So we’ll probably never see photographic evidence of Trump’s inability to keep his eyes open in court (which, in addition to being funny, is notable since he keeps insisting he’s far more spry than Biden, though they’re about the same age). It’s probably just as well; knowing Trump, he’d frame the “Sleepy Don” shot as a defiant statement against “political persecution” and start selling it on T-shirts.


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