Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert are latest loyalists to appear at Trump's New York trial

The two far-right lawmakers were seated in the front row.

May 16, 2024, 5:22 PM

The parade of lawmakers traveling to New York to support former President Donald Trump during his hush money trial continued Thursday, with several far-right members of Congress standing with Trump at the courthouse.

They included Reps. Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Michael Cloud, Eli Crane, Matt Gaetz, Bob Good, Diana Harshbarger, Anna Paulina Luna, Ralph Norman and Andy Ogles.

Gaetz and Boebert were seated in the front row, just behind Trump.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, second from left, and Rep. Lauren Boebert, third from left, watch proceedings in Donald Trump's trial at Manhattan criminal court, May 16, 2024, in New York.
Elizabeth Williams via AP

Speaking to reporters outside Manhattan's 100 Centre Street, the lawmakers took turns staunchly defending the former president and attacking witnesses and even the jury -- something Trump is barred from doing under the judge's gag order.

A fired-up Gaetz went after Michael Cohen, who was on the witness stand, calling him a "liar" and suggesting the jury had a "great appreciation" for him. Gaetz also took aim at Judge Juan Merchan, describing him as "corrupt."

"This is a made-up crime," Gaetz said. "No other American in the country would be charged with this type of crime."

Gaetz is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee over allegations that include sexual misconduct, illicit drug use and potential public corruption, according to sources. The Florida Republican has denied all wrongdoing.

Trump is facing felony charges related to a 2016 hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. He pleaded not guilty to a 34-count indictment charging him with falsifying business records in order to hide an alleged sexual encounter with Daniels from voters just before the 2016 election. He denies any wrongdoing.

Some lawmakers also repeated Trump's statements labeling the case against him a concerted effort to keep him off the campaign trail or interfere in the 2024 election.

"This is a crooked, sham trial to try to hurt the nominee who is going to be the president of the United States whether or not they like it or whether or not they want that to happen," Rep. Good said.

"I got news for the radical left and the weaponized DOJ: President Trump is not going anywhere," Boebert said. "He is coming back for another four years. And we are not going anywhere either. We are here to stand with him as he stands up for you, the American people."

Rep. Matt Gaetz walks amid former President Donald Trump's trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affairs, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, May 16, 2024.
Angela Weiss/Pool via Reuters
PHOTO: Rep. Lauren Boebert speaks during a press conference after attending the trial of former President Donald Trump for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affair with Stormy Daniels in New York, May 16, 2024.
Rep. Lauren Boebert speaks during a press conference after attending the trial of former President Donald Trump for allegedly covering up hush money payments linked to extramarital affair with Stormy Daniels, at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, May 16, 2024.
Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The group's trip to New York came as Republicans on Capitol Hill moved to advance a contempt resolution against Attorney General Merrick Garland. The House Judiciary and Oversight Committee had scheduled morning hearings to consider the contempt charge, though the Oversight Committee changed its session to Thursday evening as several of its members (including Cloud, Biggs and Boebert) were at the Trump trial.

Their visit also came days after House Speaker Mike Johnson made an appearance.

Johnson is the most high-profile lawmaker to attend the trial to date, as second in the presidential line of succession.

"I told him I wanted to be here myself to call out what is a travesty of justice," Johnson said, "President Trump is a friend and I wanted to be here to support him."

During Thursday's proceedings, prosecutor Susan Hoffinger complained to the judge about the political entourage attending the trial for Trump after Gaetz walked into court in the middle of cross-examination.

"Your Honor, I have less than zero control over what is happening on anything or anyone that's behind me when I am crossing a witness," Trump's attorney Todd Blanche said.

ABC News' Jay O'Brien, John Santucci, Lauren Peller, Peter Charalambous, Lucien Bruggeman, Julia Reinstein, Jeanna Cousin, Olivia Rubin, Josh Hoyos and Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

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