On Tuesday, May 21, 2024, Fox News reported that legal expert Alan Dershowitz harshly criticized Manhattan judge Juan Merchan’s handling of the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump.

In an interview on Brian Kilmeade’s radio show, Dershowitz called Judge Merchan a “tyrant” for his string of “outrageous” rulings against the defense during the trial proceedings. As an example, he pointed to an incident where the judge threatened to strike the entire testimony of Robert Costello, Trump’s main defense witness, for allegedly rolling his eyes at one of Merchan’s evidence rulings.

Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School with decades of experience arguing cases around the world, stated he had never witnessed such an extraordinary threat against a defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to present a defense in any of the courtrooms he had appeared in. The professor argued that if carried out, dismissing key witness testimony as punishment would almost certainly result in a mistrial and new proceedings, seriously hampering the defense case.

While the judge ultimately did not follow through on removing Costello from the record, Dershowitz said the mere issuing of such a threat against a defendant’s rights was itself outrageous and inappropriate conduct for a judge. He called for Merchan to face disciplinary action for his comments.

The legal expert went on to criticize the judge’s numerous evidence rulings over the course of the trial that excluded important information and testimony sought by Trump’s attorneys. Dershowitz believed Merchan’s adversarial approach tipped the scales of justice away from the spirit of a fair defense.

These were amongst the reasons, Dershowitz argued, why the high-profile tax case deserved television coverage to allow the public to witness firsthand the extraordinary circumstances of the courtroom exchanges and evaluate the judge’s impartiality for themselves. However, cameras have continued to be barred from proceedings.

The case centers on allegations the former president falsified business records in relation to a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. Dershowitz’s scathing remarks raise further questions about fairness as the jury considers its verdict.



Source: Fox News