On Tuesday, April 2, 2024, The Epoch Times reported that the wife of the judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s hush money case in Manhattan had previously worked for New York Attorney General Letitia James.

According to records reviewed by The Epoch Times, Judge Juan Merchan’s wife, Lara Merchan, worked for 21 years as a Special Assistant in the New York Attorney General’s office, including three years when Letitia James served as AG. James had led a widespread investigation into Trump’s business dealings and last year won a $350 million civil fraud case against the former president.

Some legal experts and conservative commentators argued this revealed a potential conflict of interest, as James is a vocal Trump critic who had vowed to scrutinize his finances. They asserted Lara Merchan’s long career in the AG’s office, where she would have dealt with James, meant the judge may not be able to impartially preside over the criminal case against Trump.

However, others maintained there was no clear evidence of bias. They noted the New York AG’s office employs over 700 lawyers, so one working there previously did not mean they had a close relationship with high-level officials like James. Furthermore, Lara Merchan left her role two years ago, prior to James suing Trump.

The new details surfaced amidst Trump’s ongoing criminal trial for allegedly falsifying business records around hush money payments to an adult film star during the 2016 campaign. Judge Merchan has rejected requests to recuse himself.

With jury selection already underway and the high-profile trial set to begin in less than two weeks, debate continues over whether Judge Merchan’s ability to fairly oversee proceedings could be impacted by his wife’s former employment. But for now, the trial is still on track to make history as the first criminal case against a former U.S. president in Manhattan.



Source: The Epoch Times