Trump Team Seeks Recusal of Judge in Case

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pauses during a campaign event September 6, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Trump participated in a discussion with retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump pauses during a campaign event September 6, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

OAN’s Caitlin Sinclair
12:00 PM – Thursday, June 1, 2023

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump have filed a motion seeking to have a judge recuse himself from the Manhattan criminal case against the former president.


Trump’s campaign website posted a statement from his lawyers Wednesday evening that accused Judge Juan Merchan of having conflicts, which the statement says are detailed in the motion.

The motion seeks to have Merchan, who presided over Trump’s arraignment on 34 counts of falsifying business records in Manhattan, step aside in the case.

Merchan recently set a march 2024 trial date, which was met by criticism from Trump and his advocates because it is expected to interfere with presidential election primary activities. 

So, who is Judge Juan Merchan? Well, he is someone who the former president has labeled a “Trump hating judge.” Merchants own daughter, did indeed work for Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign in 2019, and is now president of a progressive fundraising agency that reportedly took in more than $2m from the Biden campaign.

Federal election commission records also show a Juan Merchan, whose occupation is listed as “judge”, donating a total of $35 to the Democrat fundraising organization ActBlue in 2020, with one donation described as “earmarked for ‘stop Republicans.’”

“President Trump, like all Americans, is entitled under the constitution to an impartial judge and fair legal process,” his lawyers said in the statement, adding that the motion alleges Merchan has “significant conflicts.” 

The Trump legal team also recently sought to shift the case, brought by the Manhattan district attorney, to federal court. On Tuesday, the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, filed court papers opposing that effort, and he is expected to oppose the effort to get Justice Merchan to recuse himself.

The motion is not yet public and the Manhattan district attorney’s office was making redactions, lawyers involved in the process said.

Justice Merchan has been under the protection of armed court officers at least since a grand jury voted to indict Mr. Trump on march 30, according to a person familiar with the arrangements.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which brought the case before the grand jury, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

The criminal trial has been set for march 2024.

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