Republican Files Ethics Complaint Against Trump’s Judge

( – In April 2023, former President Donald Trump was charged with more than 30 felony counts of falsifying business records in a hush-money scheme designed to hide his alleged affair with an adult star. The state asserts that Trump’s then-Attorney Michael Cohen made the payments and the defendant reimbursed him but labeled the entry as lawyer fees to hide the deed. Recently, a US representative filed an ethics complaint against the judge presiding over the case.

On May 21, Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) filed a complaint with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct against Judge Juan Merchan. The lawmaker claimed the justice was violating the rules of conduct because she believes his family would benefit from the outcome of the trial. The complaint states that Merchan’s “family’s wealth is directly tied to attacking [former] President Trump.” The NY rep said the court was corrupt and a “threat to [the] justice system and democracy.” She further alleged that the trial was “election interference for financial gain.” The remedy she requested was that Merchan recuse himself.

The complaint, however, didn’t stop at the accusations against the judge’s daughter but also extended to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). She complained that the California congressman and the Senate Majority PAC have raised nearly $100 million since Trump was indicted on these felony counts last year. Stefanik believes an acquittal in this case would hurt Democrats, including alleged “clients of Judge Merchan’s daughter.” She said a conviction would result in a “fundraising windfall” for the same.

Months after his indictment, Trump tried to get Judge Merchan thrown off the case, citing the justice’s daughter. The effort was rejected by the court. The Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics in New York found that Merchan’s “impartiality [couldn’t] reasonably be questioned” based on the judge’s relative’s business and/or political activities.

The prosecution and defense both rested in the New York case, and jury instructions and deliberations are expected to start the week of May 27.

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