Posts tagged with "Judge Juan Merchan’s refusal to step back from the trial"

Trump hush-money trial judge rejects new demand to recuse himself from case

April 16, 2024

Former President Donald Trump’s hush-money judge declined to recuse himself from the trial underway on Monday, April 15—refusing Trump’s latest demand that he step aside over his daughter’s employment at a firm that works for prominent Democrats, reports The Hill.

Judge Juan Merchan’s refusal to step back from the trial—made from the bench on the first day of Trump’s first criminal trial—eliminates what could have been an eleventh-hour curveball before jury selection begins. He said the motion relied on “a series of references, innuendos, and unsupported speculation.”

It follows Merchan’s rejection of the former president’s similar recusal motion last year and a series of failed attempts by Trump’s legal team earlier this week to stave off the fast-approaching trial.

Ever since being charged in the case last year, Trump has repeatedly directed his ire at Merchan, attacking him on Truth Social and calling him a “highly conflicted & corrupt” judge.

Those rebukes only grew as the judge issued a gag order limiting the former president’s public statements about trial participants and insisted the trial move ahead April 15 over Trump’s objections.

Like his earlier recusal motion, Trump’s latest effort took aim at Merchan’s daughter for her employment at Authentic, a progressive digital agency that has boasted the Biden-Harris campaign and other prominent Democrats as clients.

The former president’s lawyers noted that Authentic’s clients, including Representative Adam Schiff (D-California), have used language in their digital marketing explicitly fundraising off Trump’s legal woes.

“Authentic and Your Honor’s daughter are making money by supporting the creation and dissemination of campaign advocacy for President Trump’s opponent, political rivals, and the Democrat party,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in court papers.

Last year, Merchan rejected Trump’s original recusal motion that also cited his daughter’s employment. That motion also noted $35 in donations Merchan made to the Biden campaign and two liberal-leaning groups before taking on Trump’s criminal case.

The judge said he had received guidance from a state ethics advisory committee that his daughter’s employment or the donations did not require him to step aside.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s (D) office has opposed Trump’s recusal demands, describing his latest effort as a mechanism to avoid sitting for trial next week.

“Instead, defendant’s motion is nothing more than his latest effort to delay the forthcoming trial; and—in both timing and substance—appears transparently reverse-engineered to provide an ex post justification for defendant’s attacks on the Court and the Court’s family. This Court should reject defendant’s dilatory tactic and deny the motion,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.”

Trump faces 34 counts of falsifying business records over allegations he criminally concealed a hush-money payment made days before the 2016 presidential election. He has pleaded not guilty.

Research contact: @thehill