The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s hush-money lawsuit is well aware of the spectacle that the former president can bring to the proceedings. In a court of law, these two parties had met before.
Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s CFO, was found guilty of tax fraud in a trial presided over by Justice Juan Manuel Merchan in 2022. He’s been a judge for almost 16 years, yet this is the biggest case he’s ever seen.
The former president’s close ally, Steve Bannon, is facing criminal charges related to a foundation that was meant to assist build a wall along the US-Mexico border, and the case is being presided over by the same judge in New York County Supreme Court.
Mr. Trump tweeted on Friday, hours before his court date, claiming Judge Merchan “HATES ME.” Mr. Trump has refuted all allegations of misconduct in connection with hush money paid to a former pornstar.
Justice Merchan has been practicing law since he graduated from Hofstra University’s law school in 1994. After working for a while as an assistant district attorney in New York County, he moved to Nassau County in 1999 to take on the role of deputy assistant attorney general. Before being appointed to the bench in 2006 in Bronx County Family Court, he worked as an assistant attorney general in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
There are other previous posts we’ve covered that are relevant to current news about Donald Trump:
- How Did Donald Trump Arrest Change the US Criminal Justice System? What Are the Arraignment Against Him?
- According to New Statistics Trump War on Early Voting is a Waste of Time
In 2009, he was appointed to the position of justice on the New York County Supreme Court, where he has presided over numerous criminal cases.
“He’s a serious jurist, smart and even-tempered,” Manhattan defense attorney Ron Kuby told NBC News. “He’s not one of those judges who yells at lawyers and is characterized as a no-nonsense judge. But he’s always in control of the courtroom.”
Justice Merchan was emphatic last year that the allegations against the Trump Organization were not brought about for partisan reasons. The group’s attorney had claimed Mr. Weisselberg was being persecuted for his ties to the ex-president.
Ed Krassenstein posted a tweet to his official Twitter page on April 4 with the caption, “Former President Donald Trump is now attacking Judge Juan Merchan and his family and asking for the case to be moved to Staten Island which is majority Republican. First it was the DA, now it’s the judge, and next it will be the jury. Trump won’t ever just admit that…”
BREAKING: Former President Donald Trump is now attacking Judge Juan Merchan and his family and asking for the case to be moved to Staten Island which is majority Republican. First it was the DA, now it’s the judge, and next it will be the jury. Trump won’t ever just admit that… pic.twitter.com/uToB73wZ0V
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) April 4, 2023
Such argument, Judge Merchan ruled, lacked any basis in law.
“I will not allow you in any way to bring up a selective prosecution claim or claim this is some sort of novel prosecution,” Merchan reportedly declared, per the CBS.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What Did Trump Say About Judge Merchan?
Prior to his court appearance on Tuesday, Trump called Merchan a “highly partisan judge” and stated the judge and his family are “Trump haters” on his Truth Social account. Trump wrote in the post, “His daughter worked for ‘Kamala’ & now the Biden-harris campaign.”
Where is Juan Merchan From?
Merchan, 60, was born in Colombia and moved to New York City when he was six years old. He was the first member of his family to attend college, and he went on to receive a law degree from Hofstra University in 1994.
What Ethnicity is Juan Merchan?
Judge Juan Merchan, the New York judge sitting over former President Donald Trump’s arraignment on Tuesday, is a Colombian immigrant who arrived in the United States with his family when he was six years old.
How Many Lawsuits Does Trump Have Against?
Trump or one of his enterprises were plaintiffs in 1,900 of the 3,500 lawsuits, defendants in 1,450, and bankruptcy, third party, or other in 150. Trump has been named in at least 169 federal court lawsuits.
What Did Trump Say About Judge’s Family?
Notwithstanding a court order, Trump criticizes the judge’s family and refers to Alvin Bragg as a “criminal” at Mar-a-Lago.