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The Judge Overseeing Trump’s Case Is a Biden Donor

Meet the judge presiding over President Donald Trump’s criminal case: Acting New York County Supreme Court Justice Juan Manuel Merchan, an apparent 2020 Biden donor whose daughter once worked for Vice President Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign.

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings, Merchan donated three times to ActBlue in the summer of 2020, once on July 26, 2020, when the judge’s donation was—according to the FEC—earmarked for President Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. The other two of Merchan’s contributions were pledged to the Progressive Turnout Project (PTP), a left-wing PAC that rallies voter turnout for Democrat candidates, and Stop Republicans, a PTP sub-project that’s dedicated to “resisting” Trump and the Republican Party.

Merchan’s adult daughter, Loren, previously worked for Kamala Harris’s failed 2020 presidential campaign and is now president of a consulting company that proudly lists the Biden-Harris campaign as its client, according to a report by Breitbart.

The discovery was pieced together from a decade-old photograph uploaded to Flickr by SUNY Geneseo that featured Judge Merchan on a panel of parents of current students or distinguished alumni who are in the legal profession, captioned: “One of the panelists was Hon. Juan Merchan, Court of Claims Judge sitting as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court — Criminal Term, New York County, and parent of Loren Merchan ’11.” SUNY Geneseo’s alumni office also posted a photo of Judge Merchan and his daughter Loren, class of 2011, posing together for a picture at the on-campus legal panel discussion in the spring of 2021.

Loren Merchan’s now-deleted LinkedIn page, which listed her pronouns, confirmed she graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2011. The account also showed that in 2019, Merchan worked as the director of digital persuasion for Kamala Harris for the People.

Currently, Loren serves as president of Authentic Campaigns, a consulting, digital advertising, and online fundraising agency that has raised over $250 million for progressive campaigns. A video of a smiling Harris being greeted by a crowd of supporters on the 2020 presidential campaign trail autoplays on the site’s landing page and the Biden-Harris campaign’s logo sits at the top of its client roster. Over the years, Authentic Campaigns has won a collection of accolades, mostly for its work for the Harris campaign, while Loren was awarded the coveted 2020 Rising Star title, considered one of the most prestigious honors in the campaign world, by the Campaign & Elections trade magazine, which recognizes “the best young operatives in the campaign business.”

Now, Trump will be arraigned before Merchan in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday afternoon. In a pair of Truth Social posts, Trump blasted Merchan as a “highly partisan” judge who “hates” him, called out his daughter’s left-wing political affiliations, and referenced previous cases where the justice oversaw a handful of high-profile prosecutions of former Trump associates.

Trump’s anticipated arraignment comes after Merchan sentenced Trump’s close confidant Allen Weisselberg to jail time; handled the correlating but separate Trump Organization tax-fraud trial, in which Trump’s namesake firm was found guilty—with the help of Weisselberg as the star witness; and whose caseload includes overseeing former Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s fraud case.

At Weisselberg’s sentencing hearing in January, Merchan told the Trump Organization’s ex-chief financial officer, who accepted a plea deal with prosecutors, that he would’ve imposed a “much greater” punishment had he not already been promised a five-month jail sentence plus probation. As part of the agreement, Weisselberg also repaid around $2 million in back taxes he owed.

Weisselberg’s lawyer appealed to Merchan for leniency, citing his 75-year-old client’s age and his cooperation with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who agreed to recommend a lower sentence in exchange for Weisselberg’s testimony against Trump’s company. “I believe that a stiffer sentence would be appropriate, having heard the evidence,” Merchan responded.

Weeks before the Trump Organization’s fraud-and-tax-evasion trial was scheduled to begin last fall, Merchan shot down arguments from Trump lawyers that asserted that the case was politically motivated and originated out of animus for Trump. “I will not allow you in any way to bring up a selective prosecution claim, or claim this is some sort of novel prosecution,” Merchan declared in court, later adding that he “will have very little patience at trial any questions that are not in a good-faith basis.”

In Bannon’s case, Merchan chastised the former Trump aide’s team of attorneys when the defense requested a year to review new evidence, four terabytes of data and documents, throughout the discovery phase. Merchan gave Bannon’s side four months.

During both Bannon’s and the Trump Organization’s criminal proceedings, Merchan reportedly made rulings designed to limit the defendants from drawing the cases out. A court decision, which was unsealed late last year, revealed that there was a “secret” one-day trial in October 2021, which resulted in Merchan holding the Trump Organization in contempt after Bragg’s office requested that Trump’s company be punished for “willfully disobeying” several grand jury subpoenas and court orders enforcing compliance. Bragg’s prosecutors, who eventually won a conviction, were left ill-prepared to question witnesses, Merchan ruled.

While he’s tough on Trump-affiliated defendants, Merchan is credited with creating the Manhattan Mental Health Court, a 12- to 24-month program that offers mentally ill criminals charged with felonies “compassionate” treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Upon successful completion, the initial pleas are vacated and the defendants re-plead to reduced charges.

Merchan has presided over the court, his brainchild, since its inception in 2011. According to a 2015 evaluation of the court’s overall performance, violent felony offenses, which included assault, robbery, burglary, and criminal possession of a weapon, constituted about 20% of the charges that the participants were arrested on between the program’s establishment and 2014.

READ 104 COMMENTS
  • Common sense in America???? says:

    When will this nightmare end????

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