Trump defies gag order, employs new tactic to attack judge’s daughter in hush-money case

Donald Trump has devised a workaround for a recently revised gag order that prohibits him from assaulting the Democratic campaign consultant daughter of his hush-money judge: he will instead attack the daughter through court documents.

Trump has refrained from assaulting Loren Merchan, the daughter of New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, at least after the judge extended the gag order on Monday night.

However, by Tuesday night, Trump’s lawyers had stepped up the attack.

In a recent motion, they asked the judge to recuse himself from the case, which is set to begin jury selection in Manhattan on April 15.

Trump defies gag order, employs new tactic to attack judge's daughter in hush-money case

What is their recommended cause for recusal? The defense asserted that Loren Merchants work on behalf of A-list Democrats like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris creates a conflict of interest for her father, the judge.

The daughter, through her left-leaning political company, Authentic Campaigns, is “making money” off of Trump’s legal troubles—and her father, the judge, is somehow complicit, they contended.

“Authentic has received millions of dollars in disbursements from entities associated with President Trump’s political rivals since the Indictment was returned,” stated defense attorneys Susan Necheles and Todd Blanche in a letter to the judge on Tuesday night.

“Some of those funds were paid to Authentic by entities associated with legislators and PACs that have used email and/or social media to solicit contributions specifically based on this case,” the letter went on to say.

“Thus, there is strong evidence that Authentic has used this case to make money,” according to the letter.

Trump defies gag order, employs new tactic to attack judge's daughter in hush-money case

“There is an unacceptable risk that the Court’s family relationships will influence judicial conduct,” the letter goes on to say.

The letter asks for Merchan’s permission to expand on their recusal request by filing “a motion in support of these arguments that includes briefing and evidence on Wednesday, April 3, 2024.”

Loren Merchan has not replied to multiple requests for comment. Manhattan prosecutors have described Trump’s assaults on the judge’s family as “dangerous” and “reprehensible.”

Prosecutors claimed Monday that Trump’s personal attacks on those involved in the case “threatens the integrity of these proceedings and is intended to intimidate witnesses and trial participants alike — including this Court,” referring to the judge.

On Tuesday night, prosecutors elaborated on that argument in a new document, pointing out that the judge rejected a similar defense plea to recuse himself in August.

“This Court and the Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics have already determined that such a claim provides no basis for recusal,” prosecutors said Tuesday night.

The state ethics commission determined in August that “a relative’s independent political activities do not provide a reasonable basis to question the judge’s impartiality,” prosecutors stated.

The judge did not immediately comment on Tuesday’s request to hear this fresh recusal motion, but he has consistently rejected previous defense allegations that his daughter’s consultancy employment creates a conflict of interest.

The judge has also repeatedly admonished the defense against using frivolous delay tactics, under threat of being found in contempt of court.

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