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  • The RO Team

Escalating Legal Battle: Trump Pushes for Judge's Removal in Hush-Money Case

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

Donald Trump's legal team is intensifying its efforts to challenge the judge presiding over his criminal case in Manhattan. In a court filing made public on June 2, the lawyers are requesting that Judge Juan Merchan recuse himself from the case, citing concerns about his daughter's political consulting work and campaign donations. According to the filing, the lawyers argue that these factors could create an actual or perceived conflict of interest and potentially bias the judge against Trump.

The document also raises objections to Judge Merchan's involvement in a separate case involving Allen Weisselberg, the former CFO of the Trump Organization who pleaded guilty to tax violations. Trump's lawyers contend that the judge's role in the Weisselberg case, along with his daughter's political consulting work, could lead to a financial benefit for her if negative rulings or a conviction were to occur against Trump.

Furthermore, the filing seeks to bring attention to Judge Merchan's own political contributions, suggesting that they may be relevant to the case. Federal campaign finance records allegedly show that the judge donated $15 to President Joe Biden's campaign and $20 to two advocacy groups in 2020. Trump's legal team wants this information to be placed on the record, implying that it could contribute to a perception of bias.

In addition to the recusal request, Trump's lawyers are pushing for the case to be moved from Manhattan district court to federal court. They argue that a change of venue is necessary to ensure a fair trial, potentially indicating concerns about the impartiality of the local judiciary.

The criminal case against Trump centers on allegations of a hush-money scheme aimed at suppressing damaging information during the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors assert that Trump, his former lawyer Michael Cohen, and National Enquirer owner David Pecker collaborated to conceal negative stories and influence the election's outcome. The alleged payments were purportedly made to cover up sex scandals and are characterized as a conspiracy to undermine the integrity of the election.

Following his initial court appearance on April 4, during which the judge cautioned him against making inflammatory remarks or personal attacks, Trump promptly flew back to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. However, contrary to the judge's warning, Trump proceeded to publicly criticize the court proceedings and launch personal attacks on the judge, further heightening tensions surrounding the case.


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