OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 2:57 PM – Friday, April 7, 2023
Judge Juan Merchan, the judge overseeing Donald Trump’s hush money case in New York, is being scrutinized over a $35 payment he made to Biden’s administration and Democrat causes.
This information had raised questions about Merchan’s impartiality as he has come under attack by the former president as a “Trump-hating judge.”
The scrutiny is reportedly over the amount that the New York Judge had donated to Democrats in 2020, which included $15 to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Senior CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig explained the significance of the revelation.
“While the amounts here are minimal, it’s surprising that a sitting judge would make political donations of any size to a partisan candidate or cause,” Honig said.
Federal election records show that Merchan made the three contributions through ActBlue, an internet fundraising tool for Democrat candidates and causes, in July 2020.
The judge had given $15 to the Biden campaign and two other $10 donations, one to the Progressive Turnout Project, a group that encourages voter turnout, and the other to Stop Republicans, a group that is affiliated with the Progressive Turnout Project.
According to Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at New York University, New York has adopted language from the American Bar Association Model Code of Judicial Conduct that forbids judges from “soliciting funds for, paying an assessment to, or making a contribution to a political organization or candidate.”
“The contribution to Biden and possibly the one to ‘Stop Republicans’ would be forbidden unless there is some other explanation that would allow them,” Gillers said.
According to the professor, given the minimal sums, the donations “would be viewed as trivial.” He claimed that the state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct would remind the judge of the guidelines in the event of a complaint.
Political allies of the former president are using the contributions as evidence that the judge should recuse himself from the case.
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