JUST IN: Judge Juan Merchan Hit With Ethics Complaint

A wave of controversy has hit acting New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan as he presides over high-profile cases linked to former President Donald Trump, including the Trump Organization tax fraud trial. On Wednesday, Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) filed an ethics complaint against Merchan, claiming a conflict of interest due to his family’s connections to Democratic fundraising efforts.

Merchan previously sentenced Trump’s close confidant Allen Weisselberg and overseen legal proceedings against former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. Stefanik’s complaint stated that Merchan’s daughter, the president of left-wing communications firm Authentic Campaigns, used her father’s trials as a fundraising tool for Democratic entities.

“Acting Judge Merchan is in clear violation of the Rules of Judicial Conduct for the New York State Unified Court System as his family has enriched itself through anti-Trump fundraising mentioning this case directly. His family’s wealth is directly tied to attacking President Trump,” Stefanik stated in her complaint. She added, “The idea that he is in a position to preside over this trial fairly would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous.”


“The naked corruption on display in Judge Merchan’s courtroom isn’t only a threat to President Trump, but a threat to our justice system and democracy. It is election interference for financial gain and cannot be tolerated. Judge Merchan should have recused himself, but since he’s refused, he must be held accountable for his judicial misconduct.”

The complaint goes into further detail about the potential influence on the trial’s fairness. It cites an incident where, following Trump’s indictment, a client of Ms. Merchan’s firm, Senatorial candidate Adam Schiff (D-CA) reportedly sent out fundraising emails capitalizing on the legal news. Similarly, the Senate Majority PAC, also represented by Authentic Campaigns, launched a fundraising effort directly after the indictment, raising significant funds.

In her complaint, Stefanik accused Judge Merchan of allowing his courtroom to become a vehicle for political and financial gain, branding it as “election interference” and a “threat to our justice system and democracy.”

“It is imperative that New Yorkers and all Americans have confidence that justice is being dispensed fairly in New York,” Stefanik wrote. “This is especially true in politically sensitive cases where bias is most likely to rear its ugly head. Here, we are in the middle of a presidential election campaign. The circumstances are unprecedented: President Trump, a former president and the likely nominee of a major party for the presidency, is on trial.”

“These proceedings are under a microscope. Judge Merchan’s clear conflict of interest, based upon his adult daughter’s financial state in this unprecedented criminal trial, has badly damaged the court’s appearance of impartiality.”

The complaint comes just as Trump’s trial is reaching a critical juncture with closing arguments scheduled for next week. Trump’s defense attorney, Todd Blanche, has already moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the prosecution failed to prove the falsity of business records linked to Trump.

With the complaint now filed with the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the focus is on whether Merchan’s connections could indeed affect the impartiality of the proceedings. The complaint also references a previous caution issued to Merchan by the Commission regarding his political donations.