Trump requests Judge Merchan’s recusal from hush money case (again)

Just days before his hush money trial is set to begin, former President Donald Trump is seeking Judge Juan Merchan’s recusal from the case once again.

In a motion filed Wednesday, Trump’s attorneys attempted a similar line of argument as in their first request for Merchan’s recusal last May. This time, they suggest that because Trump is now the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, he is sure to be a “political target” in Merchan’s daughter’s work.

“President Trump is now the presumptive Republican nominee and leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election,” his lawyers said in a motion made public on Friday. “His success in the primaries, which followed the Court’s ruling on the previous recusal motion, has cemented his status as a political target of Authentic, Ms. Merchan, and their clients.”

Merchan’s daughter has served as president of Authentic Campaigns, a company that worked on Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2020 presidential campaign. After previous attacks from Trump over his daughter’s work, Merchan solicited a recommendation from the New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics, which determined that “the judge’s impartiality cannot reasonably be questioned based on the judge’s relative’s business and/or political activities.”

On the basis of that finding, Merchan rejected Trump’s request for his recusal in August, and he is unlikely to be swayed by a similar argument.

The request, filed less than two weeks before jury selection begins on April 15, is yet another long-shot bid from Trump to disrupt his hush money case, which remains on track to be the first of his four criminal cases to go to trial; Trump has pleaded not guilty. Merchan also refused Trump’s presidential immunity claim earlier this week.


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