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Trump's Argument Would Mean Disqualifying Supreme Court Justices: Attorney

1 week ago 25

Former president Donald Trump's recent argument to recuse Judge Juan Merchan in his New York hush money case would mean U.S. Supreme Court justices and every judge in America could be disqualified, according to attorney Bennett Gershman.

Trump argues Merchan should be removed over accusations of conflicts of interest and has centered his argument for recusal on Merchan's daughter, Loren, who works at a Democratic political consulting firm.

But, discussing Trump's argument for recusing Merchan, Gershman, a Pace University law professor and former New York prosecutor, said: "If one looked closely at the background of any judge in America, at his or her family and their acquaintances, and his or her affiliations, then every Justice on the US Supreme Court, and probably every sitting judge in America, would have to be disqualified from sitting."

Donald Trump
Donald Trump after a pre-trial hearing on March 25, 2024, in New York City. His argument to recuse Judge Juan Merchan is too broad and could apply to any judge in American says attorney Bennett... Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Trump has sought for months to have Merchan removed from the case brought against him by District Attorney Alvin Bragg, which accuses the former president of filing fraudulent financial records to conceal hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and others during the 2016 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 34 criminal counts included in Bragg's indictment.

On Monday Trump again requested to have Merchan removed from his hush money case in a filing, which argued that Loren Merchan's firm would benefit financially depending on how the judge ruled in the case.

However, prosecutors wrote on Tuesday that Trump "has identified no changed circumstances that warrant revisiting" a New York judicial ethics board review on the former president's request in August 2023, during which the state advisory committee determined that Merchan's impartiality could not "reasonably be questioned" based on his daughter's political interests.

Gershman described Trump's argument as "baseless" because it's "too broad," telling Salon, a news site, it "involves speculation and irresponsible insinuation" that Merchan's daughter could influence his ruling.

Newsweek has reached out to Trump's spokesperson via email for comment.

Merchan, acting justice of the New York State Supreme Court in New York County, expanded a gag order on Trump on Monday after the former president assailed Loren Merchan, on social media, making false claims about her.

The revised gag order leaves Trump free to criticize Merchan and Bragg, but bars him from making any statements about their families. A violation could result in Trump being held in contempt of court, fined or even jailed.

Speaking on the gag order Gershman said the "current escalation" of Trump's "violent rhetoric" directed at the courts, prosecutors and their relatives is "astounding," it's also "understandable," adding that "Trump is running scared."

"He faces four major criminal trials that threaten his liberty, just as the last two recent civil trials inflicted a huge cost on him," Gershman said.

Meanwhile, jury selection for Trump's hush money case is scheduled to begin on April 15 in Manhattan. Legal experts have previously told Newsweek that the trial could be over as soon as May, potentially opening up the chance for Trump to face at least one verdict in his four criminal indictments before he appears on the presidential ballot in November.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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