The New York state judge overseeing Donald Trump’s criminal case tied to hush money payments denied the former president’s bid to have the judge recuse himself from the litigation.
In an order dated Friday, Judge Juan Merchan said he has “carefully weighed” the arguments and “finds that recusal would not be in the public interest. Further, this Court has examined its conscience and is certain in its ability to be fair and impartial.”
Trump asked for Merchan to recuse himself because of work his daughter does for Democratic organizations, for the judge’s role overseeing the indictment and plea deal prosecutors reached with Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, and small donor donations the judge made to Democrats.
“The donations at issue are self-evident and require no further clarification,” Merchan wrote.
Addressing Trump’s argument that the judge’s daughter stands to profit from work on digital advertising work she does for Democratic campaigns, the judge wrote, “Defendant has failed to demonstrate that there exists concrete, or even realistic reasons for recusal to be appropriate, much less required on these grounds. The speculative and hypothetical scenarios offered by Defendant fall well short of the legal standard.”
The judge’s order indicates the New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics weighed in on the judge’s daughter’s employment in May, issuing an opinion finding “nothing in the inquiry to suggest that the outcome of the case could have any effect on the judge’s relative, the relative’s business, or any of their interests.”
Trump was indicted earlier this year on 34 counts of falsifying business records for reimbursement payments made to his former attorney Michael Cohen who facilitated a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is set to go to trial in March 2024.