“THIS SCAM ‘RUSHED’ TRIAL IS BEING PRESIDED OVER BY POSSIBLY THE MOST CONFLICTED JUDGE IN JUDICIAL HISTORY,” former President Donald J. Trump declared with characteristic understatement via Truth Social. Trump added that Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan “MUST BE REMOVED FROM THIS HOAX IMMEDIATELY.”

Whether Merchan is “the most conflicted judge” ever is debatable. However, he surely belongs in the Conflicted Jurist Hall of Fame.

In fact, Merchan is awash in conflicts of interest in Trump’s “hush money” trial.

First, the judge’s daughter, Loren Merchan, is a Democratic Party activist. Before her LinkedIn page went private, it listed her as director of digital persuasion for the Kamala Harris for the People campaign in 2019.

Loren Merchan has been president of Authentic Campaigns, a digital marketing and communications operation whose clients include left-wing causes and Democratic governors, congressmen, senators, and presidential candidates. The company’s website invokes Trump’s name to generate new business:

  • “Unlike Kari Lake, who shamelessly pandered to Donald Trump and embraced dangerous and divisive rhetoric, Katie Hobbs is committed to putting sanity over chaos,” Authentic’s website states, “ultimately leading to her historic victory in the Arizona Governor race.”
  • Authentic’s fundraising ad for the Immigrant Justice Fund below complains that “Extreme MAGA Republican Trump sidekick, Kari Lake, just launched her run for the U.S. Senate in the crucial swing state of Arizona.”

Trump’s attorneys estimate that Authentic has scored $18 million from its clients since April 2023, when hard-Left Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted Trump.

Under New York State’s Judiciary Law Article 2 §14, Juan Merchan, Loren Merchan’s first-degree blood relative, should recuse himself since “he is related by consanguinity or affinity to any party to the controversy within the sixth degree.” 

Second, even if this law included an “I don’t discuss business with my daughter” clause, Merchan is a Democrat donor. According to CNN, Merchan contributed $15 earmarked for Biden’s campaign and $10 each to the Progressive Turnout Project and its Stop Republicans PAC.

“$35?” Trump haters laugh. “You call that a donation?”

Well, visualize Hillary Clinton finally on trial for her countless alleged crimes. Imagine that her judge donated $15 to Trump 2016 and $10 each to the Conservative Turnout Project and Stop Democrats PAC.

Trump haters would stop laughing.

Third, unlike federal judicial assignments, the chief administrative judge picked Merchan for Trump’s trial due to his supervision of other Trump-related cases. This needlessly deepens suspicions.

“There was not a random selection of a judge in this case, and there should have been,” former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Christopher Brennan told The Wall Street Journal. “He actually should be the last person selected, given the potential conflict.”

Here’s how these conflicts could unfold:

  • “Once this rigged trial imprisons Trump,” Merchan probably smiles to himself, “Biden soars, Democrats rally, Loren makes millions, and I get my commission. Man, will this be a great Christmas!”
  • Merchan tries his damnedest to be fair, but a tiny voice whispers within him: “Don’t make life tough for Loren.” He shuns the thought. But late at night, it returns, like the lightest of breezes: “Don’t make life tough for Loren.”
  • Aching to look impartial, Merchan overcompensates and grants Trump’s every request. Prosecutors soon doubt that they can get a fair trial. (The reality is exactly the reverse: Merchan has nixed Trump’s motions for the trial’s relocation from Democrat-packed Manhattan, ample notification of prosecution witnesses, and the First Amendment right to discuss this case unrestrained by gag orders.)
  • Merchan officiates with pristine evenhandedness. Still, the appearance of a conflict of interest causes half the country to consider this trial terminally rigged. Faith in American justice erodes even further.

Genuinely or apparently conflicted, Juan Merchan should yield to a judge who focuses strictly on the law, the evidence, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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