Judge Juan Merchan, presiding over Donald Trump's NY criminal trial, has already ruled against him

New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan is no stranger to Donald Trump.

Merchan is presiding over the first criminal trial in history of a former president. Several of his rulings have gone against Trump, including gag orders and a rejection of delays in the trial.

Trump contends Merchan hates him and he asked to remove the judge from the trial. But Merchan is still in place and jury selection begins Monday for Trump’s trial on 34 counts of allegedly falsifying business records. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

Here is what we know about the judge:

Donald Trump trial live updates: Latest from gag order arguments, David Pecker testimony

Merchan already fined Trump Organization $1.6 million

Merchan presided over a 2022 tax-fraud trial of two parts of the Trump Organization, in which the company’s former chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, was convicted for not reporting $1.7 million in benefits.

Merchan sentenced Weisselberg to five months in jail and he served 100 days and imposed a combined $1.6 million fine on the two Trump companies, which are currently appealing.

The judge said that after listening to Weisselberg's testimony, he regretted agreeing to a five-month jail term, and if not for that, he "would be imposing a sentence much greater than that."

Weisselberg was sentenced by another judge Wednesday to another five months in jail after pleading guilty last month to perjury for lying during Trump’s civil fraud trial. New York Attorney General Letitia James won a $454 million judgment against Trump for inflating his assets in loan applications.

After Trump was indicted in March 2023 and Merchan was assigned the case, the former president blasted the judge on social media.

"The Judge 'assigned' to my Witch Hunt Case, a 'Case' that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME," Trump wrote on Truth Social.

Trump has attacked Judge Merchan's daughter

Trump repeatedly attacked Loren Merchan, the judge’s daughter, in the runup to the trial. He called her in one social media post "a Rabid Trump Hater, who has admitted to having conversations with her father about me."

The judge acknowledged in an August ruling that his daughter heads digital marketing agency Authentic Campaigns, which works with Democratic candidates and non-profits.

But Judge Merchan said his daughter's work didn't provide a justifiable reason for his recusal, which Trump had requested. The New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics found the case didn't involve Loren Merchan or her business either "directly or indirectly."

Merchan issued gag orders against Trump and refused to delay trial

Merchan imposed a gag order March 26 against Trump commenting on witnesses, court staff or prosecutors. After repeated criticism of the judge's daughter, Merchan expanded the order April 9 to prohibit comments about relatives of him or Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg if the statements are intended to interfere with the case.

"To argue that the most recent attacks, which included photographs, were 'necessary and appropriate in the current environment,' is farcical," Merchan wrote.

Merchan has also refused to delay the trial while Trump appeals the gag order and while Trump awaits a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court about whether he is immune from charges in a separate case as a former president, noting that Trump waited until long after he was charged to file that request.

"This Court finds that Defendant had myriad opportunities to raise the claim of presidential immunity well before March 7, 2024," Merchan wrote.

What is Merchan's background?

Merchan has been a felony judge for 15 years. Then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Merchan a Family Court judge in 2006 and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks named him to the Supreme Court handling felonies in 2009.

Before that, Merchan served as an assistant attorney general for Nassau County, on suburban Long Island, and in the Manhattan district attorney’s office for five years.

His bachelor’s degree is from Baruch College and law degree is from Hofstra University.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Judge Juan Merchan will preside over Donald Trump's NY criminal trial