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Tags: judge | juan merchan | trump | indictment | new york

Judge Denies Motion to Recuse From Trump's N.Y. Case

By    |   Monday, 14 August 2023 05:09 PM EDT

The New York judge overseeing former President Donald Trump's criminal case regarding alleged hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels has ruled against recusing himself from the case.

In April, Trump pled not guilty in April to a 34-count indictment issued by Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg regarding alleged hush money payments made during Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. The trial is set to begin March 25.

In May, Trump's legal team filed a motion for Juan Manuel Merchan to step down from the case, citing a $15 donation he made to Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign. They also argued Merchan, overseeing a state trial against the Trump Organization, encouraged chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg to cooperate against his former boss.

Weisselberg pled guilty to tax fraud and other charges and served nearly two-thirds of his five-month prison sentence before being released in March. Neither Trump nor any of member of his family was charged in that case.

Trump's legal team also contended Merchan's daughter, the president and chief operating officer of a digital marketing agency that works with Democratic candidates, stood to benefit financially from decisions Merchan made.

"The judge presiding over a case is in the best position to appreciate the implications of those matters alleged in a recusal motion," Merchan wrote in a five-page decision, which was filed Friday but released Monday. "In deciding whether to recuse himself, the trial judge must carefully weigh the policy of promoting public confidence in the judiciary against the possibility that those questioning his impartiality might be seeking to avoid the adverse consequences of his presiding over their case.

"This court has carefully weighed the competing interests … and finds that recusal would not be in the public interest. Further, this Court has examined its conscience and is certain in its ability to be fair and impartial."

Merchan relied on the conclusions of an advisory committee on judicial ethics. In the opinion, he shared the committee's findings.

"On the facts before us, it is sufficient to say that these modest political contributions made more than two years ago cannot reasonably create an impression of bias or favoritism in the case before the judge," the committee wrote. "Accordingly, we conclude the judge's impartiality cannot 'reasonably be questioned' on this basis and the judge is not ethically required to disclose them."

Regarding Merchan's daughter, "We also note that, notwithstanding the strict limits on a judge's own political activities, a judge's relatives remain free to engage in their own bona fide independent political activities. A relative's independent political activities do not provide a reasonable basis to question the judge's impartiality."

Regarding Weisselberg, Merchan wrote: "The affirmation is almost entirely devoid of direct, personal knowledge and is instead premised upon second-hand information. … This court finds the allegations in the affirmation inaccurate, and the conclusions drawn there misleading."

Newsmax reached out to Trump attorneys Susan Necheles and Todd Blanche for comment. In an email to Newsmax, Necheles declined to comment.

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The New York judge overseeing former President Donald Trump's criminal case regarding alleged hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels has ruled against recusing himself from the case.
judge, juan merchan, trump, indictment, new york
498
2023-09-14
Monday, 14 August 2023 05:09 PM
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