On Tuesday, June 4, 2024, FactCheck.org published an article examining claims circulating online about Judge Juan Merchan, who oversaw the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump in New York.

A jury found Trump guilty of 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in an attempt to influence the 2016 election. In the wake of this controversial ruling, critics have targeted the judge with accusations of bias.

One popular meme making the rounds on social media in late May 2024 suggested Judge Merchan’s family had corrupt ties that influenced his decision. It stated his daughter was directly paid $4 million by Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff and his wife currently worked under Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James.

However, FactCheck.org’s investigation found these claims did not reflect the full details of the situations. While it is true that Adam Schiff’s 2020 reelection campaign spent around $4 million on services from Authentic Campaigns, this political marketing firm is run by Judge Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan. There is no evidence Schiff paid her directly.

Additionally, Judge Merchan sought an advisory opinion on this matter from the New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics last May. The committee found no valid reason for the judge to recuse himself, as his daughter’s business has no direct involvement in the Trump case. Even one of Trump’s former attorneys, Joe Tacopina, stated he saw no indication of bias from Judge Merchan.

The article also clarified that while Judge Merchan’s wife Lara Merchan did previously work for New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office, she left that role in March 2022. Lara Merchan is now employed by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, which is headed by Republican Anne T. Donnelly.

In summing up its findings, FactCheck.org maintained the claims circulating in the social media meme stretched the truth in an unfounded attempt to portray Judge Merchan’s family as “corrupt.”



Source: FactCheck.org