Judge Merchan again rejects Trump's recusal demands despite evidence of conflict of interest

 April 17, 2024

Former President Donald Trump's criminal "hush money" trial in New York began on Monday, and one of the first orders of business for the judge was to settle a few remaining pre-trial motions, among them one that called for the judge to recuse himself -- a demand the judge already rejected once last year.

Trump's attorneys argued that the judge needed to be removed because of an increasingly undeniable conflict of interest concerning his daughter's partisan political advocacy, but Judge Juan Merchan once again rejected that demand, The Hill reported.

The judge further prohibited Trump and his attorneys from raising the matter anymore in the future, despite it being clearly obvious to many observers that the issue is a legitimate one that can't be summarily dismissed.

Trump calls for Merchan's recusal ... again

Earlier in April, former President Trump's attorneys filed a 37-page recusal motion that outlined in detail how Judge Merchan's adult daughter, Loren Merchan, is a top executive at a Democrat-exclusive political marketing firm, Authentic Campaigns Inc., that has directly raised money and burnished its reputation by attacking Trump in connection to the New York trial.

"In 2019, Ms. Merchan made public statements during a podcast regarding a conversation with Your Honor that reflect bias against President Trump from both speakers in that exchange," the motion stated. "Consistent with that conversation, President Biden and Vice President Harris are long-term clients of Authentic and Ms. Merchan, along with many other politicians and entities who are actively campaigning and advocating against President Trump right now."

It was noted that at least six of Authentic's Democratic clients have fundraised directly in reference to Trump's trial, as well as that Authentic has earned more than $18 million in revenue from its clients just since Trump was indicted last year, strongly suggesting that Merchan's daughter has a financial incentive in the criminal case over which her father presides.

Trump now being the presumptive GOP nominee "has cemented his status as a political target of Authentic, Ms. Merchan, and their clients. While that appears to be consistent with the company’s political views, the more important consideration for purposes of this motion is that Authentic benefits reputationally and makes more money by targeting President Trump. For example, in February and March 2024, Authentic actively marketed its services using connections to President Biden and Vice President Harris, as well as graphics and other content that derided President Trump."

Obvious case of "actual conflict" and "unacceptable appearance of impropriety"

Former President Trump's recusal motion further observed that "The Court’s interest in these proceedings by virtue of the close relationship with an
immediate relative, and Ms. Merchan’s ongoing receipt of commercial and reputational benefits based on the manner in which Your Honor has conducted these proceedings, requires recusal based on an actual conflict and an unacceptable appearance of impropriety."

"This is easily illustrated by the fact that 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 motion continued. "The logic of this conclusion is further demonstrated by the fact that Ms. Merchan is not simply a salaried employee of Authentic, she is an owner with equity in the enterprise."

"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 attorneys added. "Accordingly, President Trump respectfully requests that the Court recuse itself."

Incredibly enough, USA Today reported that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's office filed a rebuttal to that motion and asserted both that Trump shouldn't be allowed to reargue the recusal issue as well as that there was no evidence that Authentic did any work in relation to the ongoing trial -- despite ample evidence of exactly that which was included in Trump's motion.

Judge ignores mounting evidence of conflict of interest, rejects recusal motion again

Unfortunately for former President Trump, ABC News reported that Judge Merchan mentioned but essentially ignored the "pages and pages of screen grabs, articles, social media posts and the like" that were clear evidence of partisan bias and conflict of interest and instead dismissed all of that as nothing more than "a series of inferences, innuendos, and unsupported speculation."

As such, he denied the motion and warned Trump's attorneys against raising the issue again. On Tuesday, however, Trump told reporters outside the courtroom, "We are going to continue our fight against this judge."

"We have a very conflicted, highly conflicted judge. He shouldn't be on the case. He's rushing this trail, and he's doing as much as he can for the Democrats," the former president added.

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