On Wednesday, May 22, 2024, Newsweek reported that New York Representative Elise Stefanik had filed an ethics complaint against Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump.

In the complaint filed with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, Stefanik alleges that Judge Merchan is in violation of New York’s judicial conduct rules regarding conflicts of interest. She claims that Merchan’s family has financially benefited from anti-Trump fundraising that directly mentions the ongoing hush money case against the former president.

Specifically, Stefanik points to Merchan’s daughter, who works at a Democratic consulting firm. She argues the judge cannot be impartial, since a conviction or acquittal in the case could respectively help or hurt the political clients of his daughter’s employer.

The lawsuit stems from charges that Trump hid “hush money” payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels regarding an alleged affair before the 2016 election. Trump denies the 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and is on trial in Merchan’s court.

This is now the second ethics complaint Stefanik has lodged against Judge Merchan regarding the case. She previously accused him of “weaponizing lawfare” but that complaint was dismissed.

Stefanik has been a strong ally of Trump’s since the former president’s election loss in 2020. As the third-ranking House Republican, she has strongly supported his efforts to overturn the election results.

Merchan had earlier refused Trump’s calls to recuse from the case after receiving guidance from the New York court system’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics.



Source: Newsweek