Donald Trump’s lawyers have filed a motion for a judge to recuse himself from the Manhattan criminal case against the former president.
Trump’s campaign website released a statement from his attorneys Wednesday night that accused Judge Juan Merchan of having conflicts, which the statement says are detailed in the motion.
The motion seeks to have Merchan, who presided over Trump’s arraignment on 34 counts of falsifying business records in Manhattan, step aside in the case, Trump’s lawyers said.
«President Trump, like all Americans, is entitled under the Constitution to an impartial judge and due process of law,» his lawyers said in the statement, adding that the motion alleges that Merchan has «significant conflicts.»
The motion is not yet public and the Manhattan district attorney’s office was doing redactions, lawyers involved in the process said.
Trump in social media posts has complained that Merchan «hates me.» Leading lawyers interviewed by NBC News about Merchan’s reputation say the New York Supreme Court judge is fair (in New York, the Supreme Court is the name of the state’s trial court).
In the statement Wednesday night, Trump’s lawyers in part it raised the fact that Merchan presided over the criminal case against the Trump Organization. His statement also references Merchan’s daughter’s employment at a political firm that worked for President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Merchan fined the Trump Organization $1.6 million for a long-running tax fraud scheme. The prosecution’s star witness was former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who testified against the company as part of a plea deal.
Weisselberg pleaded guilty to tax fraud charges in August and was sentenced to five months in prison. He was sent to Rikers Island in January and released in April.
Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury in March on 34 felony falsifying business records related to his role in secret money given to adult film star Stormy Daniels weeks before the 2016 presidential election for keep quiet about an alleged affair with him a decade earlier. . He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has repeatedly denied having an affair.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which brought the case before the grand jury, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.
The criminal trial has been set for March 2024.