Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Donald Trump’s hush money trial makes big money for line-standers

By 37ci3 May18,2024

Some mothers buy flowers for Mother’s Day; Page Singh met Donald Trump during the trial.

A Bay Area mom in town from California to accompany her husband at work took a seat. Tuesday quickly became one of New York’s hottest tickets, thanks to his wife and the professional linesman he hired to hold a seat for him in line outside the courthouse as a Mother’s Day gift.

“My husband? He thinks it’s crazy,” she said. And her children “just laugh.”

But for Singh, the hundreds of dollars he sent through Zelle to a stranger who took his place in Manhattan Criminal Court were worth the chance to see the former president of the United States on trial.

The paid placement went so well that Singh got involved E. Jean Carroll‘s defamation suit against Trump has changed travel plans to squeeze in an extra day in court.

“It was so easy I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll go on Tuesday.’ That’s why I changed my flight,” he said.

Professional line stands are a growing part of the gig economy. But the former president’s criminal case, accused of paying hush money to the porn star’s trial, has become an unintended consequence for the people who paid to wait and were increasingly recruited by members of the general public who had no stake as the trial dragged on. in court – out of interest.

“We definitely had to increase staff,” said Robert Samuels, who runs Same Ole Line Dudes, which bills itself as “New York’s Premier Professional Line Sitting Company.”

For the Trump trial, Samuels doubled his grades, expanded his stand from 26 to 32, and kept busy watching episodes of “Bridgerton” on his iPad to pass the time during the wait.

Admission to the court is, of course, free, but it is first-come, first-served and seating is limited. On Wednesday morning, the first person in line paid $1,800 to have someone else take that spot. A little further back, a woman was offering her place for $450.

“It’s a unique experience that you can only see here,” Samuels said.

In New York, professional line watchers are more than capable of working the lines of takeout restaurants, ticket booths, sample sales, book signings, pop events, and new product launches—wherever someone with more than enough time wants them. pay someone to wait.

“Skip the lines and enjoy your time in the big city!” TaskRabbit reads a page advertising permanent services on the gig work platform. “Even the DMV can be conquered with the help of Taskers!”

Line supervisors in Washington have long been a quiet but important cog in an economy of influence in which lobbyists and lawyers hire others to charge their clients hundreds of dollars an hour. $60 an hour (for a minimum of three hours) to wait in line and reserve seats at congressional hearings and major court cases.

A legitimate courier company states that “High-quality services for Congressional hearings or other events,” and another “providing our clients with energy, telecommunications, broadcasting, healthcare, banking, congressional ethics, and more. that they helped to overcome the great difficulty of obtaining a place for auditions in the subjects,” he boasts.

Elsewhere, line-ups like their flight-driver brethren gather at big events, such as billionaire Warren Buffett’s annual gathering in Omaha, which can draw twice as many people as seats. Buffett himself said in 2017 that he “probably would” hire someone to wait in line. according to to the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to lawyers, media organizations are also bread and butter customers of those waiting in line, given the limited space in high-profile trials and the importance of having journalists in the room for non-televised proceedings.

But the Trump trial, especially over the past week star witness testimony Trump’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen has convinced ordinary Americans to hire professional line-sitters like never before.

One woman — a lawyer and self-described “political junkie” who declined to be named — paid $750 to have someone wait in line overnight after trying to get in line the previous day. When he arrived the first time, he realized that it was already too late and that he would not go inside. It was 4 o’clock in the morning

On TaskRabbit, several New York City leaders specifically advertise the Trump trial in their bios, while several have posted trail photos or displayed work histories suggesting the Foley Square trial. (They are booked most days during the week, except for Wednesdays when the trial period is cut off.)

“We’ve done other tests, but nothing compares to what this is,” said Samuels, whose “linemates” can be seen outside the courthouse in their signature black and yellow baseball caps. “Now, we have an entire public contingent, which we’ve never done with other trials.”

He has previously worked in many high-profile trials. No one who didn’t need a professional paid to see Jeffry Epstein’s partner Giselle Maxwell, swindling crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried or disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

For the Trump trial, Samuels raised his typical trial rate from $25 to $50 an hour, taking into account increased demand and the potential security risks that don’t exist when waiting for limited Nikes or primo “Hamilton” tickets.

There have been reports of arguments and arguments between toll booth workers and civilians during the dark nights, which Samuels blamed on feral cats who entered the queue without their particular customers or tried to take spots from others who were there. for profit.

He frowns on such wheeling and dealing, which he believes brings negative attention to an industry already viewed negatively by many.

“It’s like you’re a plastic surgeon and you follow the book and you have all the licenses and then someone does failed butt implants in their basement. You will look down on it,” he said.

Professional line stop has been controversialespecially in Washington, where critics argue that the rich and powerful have to wait in line like everyone else.

of the Supreme Court visitor policy makes it clear that no “line-standers” are allowed in the queue for members of the Supreme Court Bar, and it asks the general public “not to hold seats for others who have not yet arrived”.

But these policies are often violated. SCOTUSBlog found at least a dozen “suits”. Changing places one morning in 2020 just after sunrise and before High Court police officers started handing out tickets.

Former senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, even once tried to outlaw it Standing in line on Capitol Hill in 2007, he said, “We have to make sure that this place is available to the people who own it, and that’s not the lobbyists, it’s the people of this country.” But the “Act of Belonging” it didn’t go anywhere.

Outside the Manhattan courthouse, professional linemen seem to make up a significant portion of the line on any given morning during Trump’s trial, but there are also some brave citizens who do it themselves.

Jim Neely, a 70-year-old retiree from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, said he gets in line at 10 p.m. to get a seat for the next day.

“I wanted to be a part of history, to see it before my eyes and try to remember the visceral as well as the intellectual parts that didn’t come through on the air,” Neely said. Being “all Republican” before Trump.

He said the night was “not a bad experience”, although the plastic sheet he had brought proved to be less waterproof than expected when it started to rain. He already plans to return for the courts’ closing arguments — and won’t pay anyone else to wait for him.

“I’ll do it again,” he said.

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By 37ci3

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