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Trump unleashes rant aimed at daughter of judge overseeing his hush money case

A day after a New York judge ruled that Donald Trump’s hush money trial could go ahead as planned on Monday 15 April, the Republican presidential candidate attacked both the justice and his daughter on Truth Social, accusing them of political bias.

“Judge Juan Merchan, a very distinguished looking man, is nevertheless a true and certified Trump Hater who suffers from a very serious case of Trump Derangement Syndrome,” Mr Trump wrote, having evidently gotten a close look at his antagonist during his visit to the former’s Manhattan courtroom on Monday.

“In other words, he hates me! His daughter is a senior executive at a Super Liberal Democrat firm that works for Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, the Democrat National Committee, (Dem) Senate Majority PAC, and even Crooked Joe Biden.”

The defendant then pivoted towards accusing the justice of “viciously” going after his former Trump Organization chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, who was jailed by Judge Merchan in 2023 after being found guilty of tax offences.

“He was recently the judge on an unrelated trial of a long term employee, elderly and not in good health. This judge treated him viciously, telling him either you cooperate or I’m putting you in jail for 15 years.

“He pled, and went to jail for very minor offenses, highly unusual, served 4 months in Rikers, and now they are after him again, this time for allegedly lying (doesn’t look like a lie to me!), and they threatened him again with 15 years if he doesn’t say something bad about ‘TRUMP.’

“He is devastated and scared! These COUNTRY DESTROYING SCOUNDRELS & THUGS HAVE NO CASE AGAINST ME. WITCH HUNT!”

Unsurprisingly, Judge Merchan swiftly acquiesed with a request from Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg to impose a partial gag order on Mr Trump to prevent him speaking out publicly about the case in order to protect witnesses, jurors, lawyers, court staff and their families.

Mr Trump has made a habit of attacking the judges presiding over his numerous legal cases, particularly Judge Arthur Engoron, who oversaw the 11-week civil fraud trial against the Trump Organization for inflating the value of its assets that yielded a $464m judgement against the company last month.

He will next appear before Judge Merchan in less than three weeks’ time for the commencement of a trial sparked by Mr Bragg’s 34-count indictment a year ago, which accused the defendant of falsifying business records to hide “hush money” payments made to the porn star Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal on his behalf in 2016 to secure their silence about extramarital affairs he is said to have had with them years earlier.

Just before Mr Trump was arraigned on 4 April last year, he posted on Truth Social that Judge Merchan was a “HIGHLY PARTISAN JUDGE & HIS FAMILY ARE WELL KNOWN TRUMP HATERS”.

In the same message, he declared: “HIS DAUGHTER WORKED FOR ‘KAMALA’ & NOW THE BIDEN-HARRIS CAMPAIGN. KANGAROO COURT!!!”

In support of this claim, Mr Trump’s two adult sons, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, posted links on the same platform to articles on the conservative websites Breitbart and Gateway Pundit attacking Judge Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan, by pointing out that she had worked as president and partner of Authentic Campaigns during the 2020 election cycle, “a company that runs digital campaigns for Democrat candidates”, insinuating implicit political bias.

Citing an archived LinkedIn page, those sites reported that Ms Merchan “worked as the ‘Director of Digital Persuasion’ for ‘Kamala Harris For The People’ from February 2019 through December 2019” and noted that the company website featured a testimonial from Mr Schiff and listed the Biden-Harris campaign among its clients.

California governor Gavin Newsom, House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senator Cory Booker have reportedly also worked with the progressive firm.

Judge Juan Merchan (Reuters)
Judge Juan Merchan (Reuters)

NBC News looked into the matter when the Trumps first raised it and concluded: “There’s no available evidence to suggest that Merchan’s daughter has done any subsequent work for Biden and no evidence to suggest that she ‘now’ works for a Biden political operation.”

Mr Trump’s rhetoric attacking the Merchans and Mr Bragg led them to receive “dozens” of threats against their safety in the 24 hours immediately following the former president’s arraignment, NBC reported.

Those threats forced court officers and the New York police detail assigned to the district attorney’s office to ramp up security to protect Judge Merchan and Mr Bragg, while the biographies of court employees and office staff were taken offline for their own protection.

Attacking Judge Merchan and other justices enables Mr Trump to promote the idea that he is being unfairly treated by a legal system he baselessly insists is “rigged”.

Now that the judge has moved to silence him with a fresh gag order, the defendant is likely to use it to further push the suggestion that he is being victimised and denied his fundamental rights, providing further grist for his campaign fundraising emails and text appeals.