Is this the man who will preside over the Trump case? Judge who oversaw Trump Org fraud case ‘arrives at New York court to read charging documents flanked by uniformed court officers’
- Judge Juan Merchan – who oversaw the fraud case against the Trump Organization – is expected to try the former president
- Merchan was seen arriving at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday
- It came just hours after a grand jury voted to indict Trump over silent money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.
The judge who oversaw last year’s fraud case against the Trump Organization is set to preside over the former president’s new case involving silent money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Judge Juan Merchan was seen arriving at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday – just hours after a grand jury voted to indict Trump.
Merchan was said to be dressed casually in gray sweatpants, a baseball cap and a blue puffy coat as he was flanked by two uniformed law officers.
The judge oversaw the trial of two of Trump’s companies for tax evasion last year.
Both companies were found guilty by a jury and fined $1.6 million as punishment.
Judge Juan Merchan set to try Trump over silent payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016
Trump has vehemently denounced his indictment, which he says is part of a ‘witch hunt’ concocted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg
During the trial, Merchan repeatedly scorned the firm’s legal team, even raising his voice.
At one point he berated the lawyers for submitting evidence late – something he called “minimally inconsiderate”.
Multiple sources told CNN Thursday night that Trump will be arraigned next Tuesday and that Merchan will be overseeing the case.
The allegations against Trump center around a silent payment of $130,000 made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, to Daniels, 44, during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The former president has always denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.
But the case dogged him throughout his tenure after sparking a federal investigation.
Although the Justice Department decided not to indict Trump and the Federal Election Commission was deadlocked in taking action on allegations that the payment amounted to an undeclared campaign contribution, the Manhattan DA was examining always the deal.
Merchan oversaw the trial of two of Trump’s companies for tax evasion last year. A court sketch shows him re-reading the charges from December 6, 2022
During the trial, Merchan repeatedly scorned the firm’s legal team, even raising his voice
And it got a boost in early 2023 when Cohen met with investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and it emerged that a grand jury was hearing evidence.
These hearings are held in secret. But one theory was that he was probing Trump for falsifying business documents in connection with the payment, allegedly declaring a campaign donation as a legal fee.
This amounts to a misdemeanor. But it becomes a crime if done in conjunction with a second crime, such as a campaign finance violation.
On Saturday, March 18, Trump said he would be arrested by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office the following Tuesday.
However, the arrest did not materialize and the case had remained silent for the past few weeks.
Trump responded to news of the indictment with a furious statement calling it “the highest level political persecution and election interference in history.”
“I think this witch hunt will backfire massively on Joe Biden,” his statement read.
“The American people realize exactly what the radical left Democrats are doing here. Everyone can see it.
A Manhattan grand jury has voted to indict former President Donald Trump over money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels
Trump spoke out against the indictment in an emailed statement. He said ‘the witch hunt will massively backfire on Joe Biden’ and predicted Democrats would be out of office
“So our movement and our party – united and strong – will first defeat Alvin Bragg, then we will defeat Joe Biden and we will drive out every one of these crooked Democrats so that we can make America great again.”
And he was offered partial sanctuary by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who promised to thwart Trump’s extradition from his state to New York.