Former President Trump’s attorneys filed a court motion on Wednesday demanding Supreme Court of the State of New York Justice Juan Merchan to recuse himself from the ongoing criminal case in the Manhattan district related to the alleged hish-money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
In the filing, Trump’s lawyers said Merchan had a conflict of interest related to his daughter’s work for Authentic Campaigns, which has worked for several Democratic campaigns including the campaign of election of President Biden. The filing also alleges that Merchan himself is biased against Trump.
“As discussed below, due to actual or perceived impartiality, Your Honor cannot preside over this case, for at least two reasons: (1) the political and financial interests of Your Honor’s daughter The Campaigns of the Real Campaign create an actual or perceived conflict of interest because judgments and decisions that Your Honor is required to make in this case may result in the financial benefit of Your Honor’s daughter; and (2) Your Honor’s role in a lawsuit urging Allen Weisselberg to cooperate against President Trump and his interests demonstrates a perceived bias against President Trump,” states the file.
According to Trump’s lawyers, Merchan’s daughter is the chief operating officer and president of Authentic Campaigns.
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They said in the court filing that Authentic Campaigns “features content that reflects a heavy Democratic, and anti-Donald J. Trump, slant.”
The filing also mentions small dollar donations that Judge Merchan himself made to several leftist causes, including Biden’s own election campaign.
Trump’s lawyers also say that Merchan, who previously handled the Trump Organization’s case and trial, as well as its former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, also showed bias.
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“The Court’s first involvement in plea negotiations with Allen Weisselberg was where the Court, along with the District Attorney’s Office, attempted to induce Allen Weisselberg to cooperate against President Trump and his companies further requiring Your Honor’s denial,” the attorneys wrote.
Merchan previously sentenced Weisselberg to five months in prison last year and fined Trump companies $1.6 million.
Trump’s lawyers are also trying to move the case to federal court, with oral arguments on the matter scheduled for later in June.
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Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree in April. Generally, falsifying business records is considered a misdemeanor charge but rises to a felony if a defendant’s “intent to defraud includes an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal its commission.” “
Anders Hagstrom of Fox News contributed to this report.