Trump Challenges Judge Ahead Of ‘Hush Money’ Trial

As the first-ever criminal prosecution of an American president is set to go to trial, President Donald Trump’s legal team has initiated action against New York Judge Juan Merchan. The judge is presiding over the “hush-money” trial in Manhattan, which is set to start on April 15. The maneuver is based on the Trump team’s assertion of bias related to Judge Merchan’s daughter’s involvement in Democrat-affiliated political campaigns.

This comes as a New York appeals court rejected his motion to delay the trial on Monday. Appeals court Judge Lizbeth Gonzalez heard oral arguments from the defense team and prosecutors in the afternoon shortly before issuing the order denying the request. At the same time, the court’s online docket system indicated Trump’s lawyers had filed the special proceeding to challenge Judge Merchan’s position in presiding over the trial. That document had not been immediately made public by Monday evening.

The lawsuit against Judge Merchan centers on the gag order he imposed on Trump, restricting his ability to comment on the case’s participants, including witnesses and the judge’s family. President Trump argues the order unconstitutionally affects his right to speak on political issues as clearly protected by the First Amendment.

Moreover, Trump’s team has challenged the suitability of a Manhattan jury, citing an overwhelming barrage of negative publicity that could prejudice potential jurors. Despite these concerns, an appeals court judge dismissed Trump’s request to relocate the trial, emphasizing the paramount importance of a fair judicial process.

As the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president approaches, Trump’s legal strategies reflect not just a defense against specific charges but a broader critique of a politicized legal system. Trump’s challenge of Judge Merchan’s impartiality points out the current public perception of a judiciary in the Empire State that is under the influence of partisan politics.

That system is revealing its weaknesses to the public in breathtaking fashion in New York, where leftist operatives have complete control of the city government and much of the state judiciary. President Trump can use the opportunity to rally his base as the status quo under the Biden administration is being laid bare for all to see.