Donald Trump’s Lawyers Make Fresh Bid to Remove Judge from ‘Hush Money’ Trial Due to Daughter’s Democratic Connections

New York City, NY – Former President Donald Trump has requested that the judge overseeing his “hush money” criminal case recuse himself due to his daughter’s work for prominent Democrats. Trump’s lawyers argue that Justice Juan Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan, has a “direct financial interest” in the case due to her employment at consulting firm Authentic Campaigns, which has worked for Trump foes such as Rep. Adam Schiff. Trump’s legal team claims that Merchan’s connection to the case creates an appearance of impropriety.

Justice Merchan previously denied similar claims made by Trump’s lawyers in August 2023, stating that there was no evidence to suggest that the outcome of the case would impact his relative or their business interests. Merchan also sought guidance from New York State’s committee on judicial ethics before deciding to remain on the case. However, Trump’s attorneys argue that new circumstances, such as Trump’s status as the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, warrant a fresh review of the recusal issue.

Authentic Campaigns has received over $18 million from clients, including President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, according to Trump’s lawyers. They contend that Merchan’s daughter’s work for Trump’s political opponents creates an inherent conflict of interest. The lawyers also highlighted a social media post by Loren Merchan featuring a photo of Trump leaving the White House with the caption “Byyyeeeee” from January 2021, far before the hush money case began.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have yet to comment on the matter. However, they have argued in a separate filing that Trump is trying to rehash old arguments without providing any new evidence. They maintain that there is no basis for the court’s prior conclusion that Justice Merchan’s family member or Authentic Campaigns will directly benefit from the proceedings.

This latest attempt to delay the trial comes after Trump was barred from criticizing Merchan’s daughter in an expanded gag order. The court has consistently rejected Trump’s numerous efforts to postpone the trial, which is scheduled to begin on April 15 with jury selection. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records, each carrying a maximum sentence of up to four years in prison.