Trump Team May Again Seek Recusal of Judge in Hush Money Case

He and his attorneys say the jurist’s daughter and her Democratic consulting firm have profited heavily off the prosecution of the former president.
Trump Team May Again Seek Recusal of Judge in Hush Money Case
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at 40 Wall Street after a pre-trial hearing in New York on March 25, 2024. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Chase Smith

Attorneys for Donald Trump are considering again seeking the recusal of the judge overseeing his hush money case,  according to a New York Post report.

The judge’s daughter and her political consulting firm have profited off his legal woes, the paper reported.

Two major Democratic clients of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan, have raised at least $93 million in campaign donations—using Mr. Trump’s case in their solicitation emails, according to the Post.

Ms. Merchan is president and partner of a Chicago-based firm Authentic Campaigns, whose top clients include U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and the Senate Majority PAC. Mr. Schiff also oversaw Mr. Trump’s first impeachment trial as its lead prosecutor.

“Authentic Campaigns, and thus the judge’s daughter, is actively making money from this sham attack against President Trump, rendering Judge Merchan conflicted out,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung told The Post.

“The judge should do the right thing and immediately recuse himself in order to show the American people that the Democrats have not destroyed our justice system completely. ... him continuing to be involved in this Crooked Joe Biden-directed Witch Hunt is a complete violation of applicable rules, regulations, and ethics.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Mr. Cheung and Authentic Campaigns but did not hear back before publication of this article.

Trump has not yet commented on The Post report, but expressed his frustration with Merchan and his daughter in a Truth Social post this past week.

“Judge Juan Merchan, a very distinguished looking man, is nevertheless a true and certified Trump Hater who suffers from a very serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome,” the former president wrote.

“In other words, he hates me! His daughter is a senior executive at a Super Liberal Democrat firm that works for Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, the Democrat National Committee, Senate Majority PAC, and even Crooked Joe Biden.”

President Trump’s comments came after Judge Merchan issued a gag order on the candidate following a hearing this past week regarding his bids to delay or dismiss the case.

President Trump was prohibited from making statements or directing others to make public statements about known or likely witnesses, jurors or prospective jurors, members of the court and district attorney staff, and family members of counsel or staff. The hush money case is expected to begin in Manhattan on April 15.

Claims Against Merchan’s Daughter

The Post, utilizing Federal Election Commission records, said Mr. Schiff’s campaign raised $20 million since soliciting donations related to the April 2023 hush money case indictment.

One such fundraising email called the indictment a “somber moment” before asking supporters for $10 donations, according to The Post.

The Senate Majority PAC, supporting Democratic Senate campaigns, raised $73.6 million in similar fundraising emails noting the indictment, The Post report continued.

Mr. Schiff’s Senate Campaign has paid more than $10 million to the firm for digital advertising in the past year, according to The Post, while the Senate Majority PAC has spent more than $15 million with Authentic Campaigns.

Previous Motion to Recuse

Last summer, the Trump team filed for Merchan to recuse himself, making similar arguments that Justice Merchan’s impartiality might be compromised due to his daughter’s political work.

In a six-page decision in August 2023, Justice Merchan rebutted these claims, stating that the evidence provided by Trump was speculative and fell short of the legal threshold for recusal.

The motion also highlighted concerns regarding Justice Merchan’s previous involvement in a case against Allen Weisselberg, The Trump Organization’s CFO, suggesting that it indicated bias against President Trump.

Additionally, President Trump raised issues over alleged 2020 campaign contributions by New York’s highest court members, insinuating a lack of impartiality.

Justice Merchan addressed these concerns by emphasizing that such modest political contributions made over two years ago do not undermine the judiciary’s impartiality.

In his ruling at the time, Mr. Merchan concluded that his recusal was unwarranted and maintained that he could remain fair and impartial. He said that stepping down would not serve the public interest.

Catherine Yang and Jackson Richman contributed to this report.