Trump lawyers mount fresh bid to oust hush money trial judge


Donald Trump on Friday urged the judge in his “hush money” criminal case to recuse himself due to his daughter’s marketing work for prominent Democrats — the latest in a series of bids to delay a trial set to start in 10 days.

Loren Merchan, the daughter of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, has a “direct financial interest” in the case due to her work at consulting firm Authentic Campaigns for Trump foes like Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead prosecutor in the Republican’s first impeachment trial, the ex-president’s lawyers argued.

Justice Merchan has denied similar claims made by Trump’s lawyers about his daughter’s job in August 2023, saying there was no evidence to “suggest that the outcome of the case could have any effect on the judge’s relative, the relative’s business, or any of their interests.”

Merchan also noted that he had consulted a New York State’s committee on judicial ethics before deciding to stay on the case.

But Trump’s lawyers argued Friday that the issue should be revisited in light of new circumstances — including that Trump is now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, which has “cemented his status as a political target of Authentic, Ms. Merchan, and their clients.”

Authentic’s clients have paid the company — which has used “graphics and other content that derided” Trump in marketing materials — more than $18 million since he was indicted on charges of covering up hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, the lawyers added.

The company’s clients have included President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the lawyers said.

Trump attorneys Todd Blanche and Emil Bove wrote that Justice Merchan should remove himself based on what they called alleged “actual conflict” in the case.

They also argued that the judge’s daughter’s work for Democrats has an “appearance of impropriety.”

Former U.S. President Donald Trump appears with his lawyer Susan Necheles for a pre-trial hearing in a hush money case in criminal court on March 25, 2024 in New York City.
Donald Trump on Friday urged the judge in his “hush money” criminal case to recuse himself due to his daughter’s marketing work for prominent Democrats. Getty Images

“It would be completely unacceptable to most New Yorkers if the judge presiding over these proceedings had an adult child who worked at WinRed or MAGA Inc.,” the lawyers argued, referring to two Trump-boosting organizations.

“Personal political views may not be a basis for recusal. But profiting from the promotion of a political agenda that is hostile to President Trump, and has included fundraising solicitations based on this case, must be,” the lawyers added.

The lawyers also included evidence that Loren Merchan on a social media account posted the caption “Byyyeeeee” in January 20, 2021 above a photo of Trump, 77, leaving the White House.

That post came far before prosecutors began pursuing the hush money case, and years before Justice Merchan was assigned to the case.

Justice Juan Merchan presides during a hearing before the trial of former U.S. President Donald Trump over charges that he falsified business records to conceal money paid to silence porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, in Manhattan state court in New York City, U.S. March 25, 2024 in this courtroom sketch.
Justice Merchan has denied similar claims made by Trump’s lawyers about his daughter’s job in August 2023, saying there was no evidence to “suggest that the outcome of the case could have any effect on the judge’s relative.” REUTERS

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office did not have an immediate comment Friday, but argued in a separate court filing this week that Trump was trying to rehash old arguments without providing new evidence.

“There is simply nothing new here that would alter this court’s prior conclusion that nothing about this proceeding will directly benefit Authentic or this court’s family member, let alone this court,” prosecutors argued.

Trump was also barred Monday from slamming Merchan’s daughter in an expanded gag order that came after the DA’s office urged the court to rein in what it called Trump’s “dangerous” and “violent” rhetoric.

But Trump has nonetheless reposted on his Truth Social page several articles this week that criticize the judge’s daughter.

The court has repeatedly swatted away Trump’s many other attempts to delay the trial, which is expected to start with jury selection April 15 and last more than six weeks.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records, felonies that each carry a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison.





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