After an expanded gag order, Trump demands Judge Merchan’s recusal.

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Donald Trump is once again attempting to disqualify the judge overseeing his upcoming New York criminal trial scheduled for April 15. He argues that the judge’s daughter’s involvement with a political consultancy that works with Democrat clients presents a conflict of interest.

Last year, the Republican presidential candidate made a similar request for Justice Juan Merchan to step down from the case, but the judge denied the request after an ethics panel determined that his daughter’s work did not raise concerns about his impartiality.

In a recent court filing dated April 1, Trump’s legal team asked Justice Merchan for permission to formally request his recusal, citing the potential financial benefit that the trial could provide to his daughter’s firm, Authentic Campaigns.

“It is evident that Authentic’s interests stand to gain from the outcome of this case,” Trump’s lawyers stated.

Authentic Campaigns and the New York state Office of Court Administration did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Prosecutors from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, who brought charges against Trump last year, urged Justice Merchan not to entertain Trump’s request.

Trump is seeking to delay the trials for the four criminal cases he is involved in until after his anticipated rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden on November 5. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

No former president has ever faced a criminal trial.

In the New York case, Trump is accused of falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment made by his former lawyer Michael Cohen to adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep her alleged affair with Trump quiet before the 2016 election.

Trump maintains his innocence and denies any involvement with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Justice Merchan recently expanded a gag order to prevent Trump from speaking publicly about witnesses, court personnel, and prosecutors, as well as family members of trial participants.

Last week, Trump criticized Merchan’s daughter online, referring to her as a “Rabid Trump Hater.”

Trump’s legal team has argued that the gag order violates his First Amendment right to free speech as protected by the U.S. Constitution.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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