On Tuesday, April 2, 2024, AlterNet reported that New York prosecutors pushed back against former President Donald Trump’s latest effort to recuse Judge Juan Merchan from his criminal trial related to hush money payments.

Trump’s legal team filed a letter on April 1 seeking Judge Merchan’s recusal a second time and cited his daughter Loren Merchan’s ties to a Democratic consulting firm called Authentic Campaigns. However, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office submitted a letter to the court the next day opposing Trump’s request.

The prosecutors argued there were no new circumstances to revisit Judge Merchan’s August 2023 order that denied Trump’s initial recusal motion. Regarding claims about Authentic Campaigns, prosecutors said it merely restated arguments from the previous motion, as the firm’s client list was already considered.

Trump’s lawyers alleged without evidence that Authentic used social media to promote connections to President Biden and Vice President Harris while criticizing Trump. Prosecutors countered that even if true, it does not directly relate to the case.

Trump’s team also asserted Authentic received millions from “entities associated with [Trump’s] political rivals” and some entities were linked to legislators and PACs soliciting contributions about the trial. However, prosecutors emphasized the “multiple attenuated factual leaps” in Trump’s claims, stating there was no direct connection between Authentic and the case.

Prosecutors described Trump’s argument as a “daisy chain of innuendos” far from demonstrating Judge Merchan had a “direct, personal, substantial or pecuniary interest” in the case’s outcome. A New York judicial ethics board had already rejected Trump’s previous claims of a conflict of interest last year.

The latest motion comes after Judge Merchan expanded a partial gag order on April 1 pertaining to pre-trial publicity. Trump had attacked his daughter on social media by posting her name, photo, and a New York Post article, which led to the tightened restrictions.

With jury selection set to begin later this month, the Manhattan DA’s office will aim to prove Trump directed hush money payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to aid his election chances in violation of campaign finance laws.



Source: AlterNet