Judge Juan Merchan of New York, who presided over the criminal case against former President Donald Trump, made small political contributions to progressive groups and Joe Biden for his 2020 presidential campaign, according to federal campaign contribution records.
Federal Election Commission reports revealing that Merchan was a New York State Office of Court Administration judge who made $15 to the Biden For President campaign committee through ActBlue, a Democratic Party fundraising platform.
According to records, the judge made another $10 contribution to the Progressive Turnout Project (a voter contact organization) and another $10 to its subsidiary political action committee, Stop Republicans.
A spokesperson for the state court system said they didn’t know if the donations were from the same Judge Merchan as Trump’s case. The spokesperson stated that if either party has any concerns or issues, they should address them directly with the Court.
The only New York State trial judge directory that includes Juan Merchan is missing. Merchan works for the Supreme Court of New York County. Merchan was the judge who presided at Trump’s arraignment before the court on Tuesday. He also handled the trial for the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, its former CFO.
Trump has pleaded guilty to 34 counts of falsifying records business records, a felony. Alvin Bragg, Manhattan District Attorney, brought the charges related to alleged payments of hush money made during the 2016 Presidential Campaign.
Merchan was attacked by the former president, who called Merchan and his family “Trump haters” via social media. He suggested that the case be transferred to Staten Island where he would have a better chance at a fair trial.
One observer says that Merchan’s political contributions may have given Trump an excuse for unfair bias but they seem too small to warrant a serious legal challenge.
Professor Emeritus of Harvard Law Alan Dershowitz stated that “these small contributions alone would not warrant recusal if he decided to remain on the case but it warrants further inquiry into possible partisan activities such as whether he supported Alvin Bragg’s candidacy, who campaigned for the Trump issue.”
Dershowitz said that Judge [Merchan] can decide to withdraw if he believes there is bias.
Merchan has been subject to death threats since his appointment as Trump’s judge.
Lucian Chalfen, spokesperson for the Office of Court Administration stated that Chambers have been receiving the usual harassing and defamatory emails and calls.
He said, “Over the last weeks, we continued to assess and assess security concerns as potential threats. We have maintained an enhanced security presence in and around courthouses and throughout the judiciary and will adjust protocol as necessary.”
Joe Tacopina (Trump’s criminal defense lawyer), called the threats “appalling” to him and condemned such behavior.