New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan has rejected Trump’s request to recuse himself in the former President’s “hush money” case.
In an order dated Friday, Judge Merchan said that after he had “carefully weighed” the arguments, he found “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, small donations the judge has made to Democrats, and for his having presided over the indictment and plea deal that prosecutors reached with former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg.
As for the donations, Merchan wrote in his order that they are “self-evident and require no further clarification.”
On April 4 Trump pleaded not guilty in New York State Supreme Court to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and conspiracy over hush money payments he made to at least two women in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.
In June U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected Trump’s request to have the case moved from New York State to federal court. The trial is set to start in state court March 25, 2024 amid at least two federal criminal cases against the former President and potentially a Fulton County, Georgia criminal trial as well.