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Trump attacks hush money judge, points to daughter’s political work

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Former President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at 40 Wall Street on March 25, 2024 in New York City. 

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Donald Trump on Tuesday lashed out at the judge in his criminal hush money case — and verbally took aim at the judge’s daughter — after the ex-president’s attorneys failed to delay the case from heading to trial next month.

Trump, in a Truth Social post, called New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan “a very distinguished looking man” who “is nevertheless a true and certified Trump Hater.”

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee added, “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.”

In another post Tuesday morning, Trump wrote that Merchan “SHOULD RECUSE HIMSELF, HE CANNOT GIVE ME A FAIR TRIAL.”

Trump also said that the trial “should take place in Staten Island, with a new and unbiased judge.”

The posts were not the first time Trump has used Merchan’s daughter to protest against Merchan. The judge is overseeing the case charging Trump with falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Last May, Trump’s attorneys in a court filing urged Merchan to recuse himself from the case, arguing that his presence created at least the appearance of bias.

They highlighted Merchan’s daughter’s role as an executive at Authentic Campaigns, a progressive political consultant that touts its work for various Democratic clients — including President Joe Biden, who is running for reelection against Trump.

It was not immediately clear if Merchan’s daughter still held that role at Authentic. The firm did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Trump’s post.

The situation is “particularly problematic given the role this very case may play in political campaigns and advertising in the 2024 presidential election,” the attorneys wrote in the May filing.

“It is likely that many of President Trump’s opponents, both political candidates and organizations, will attempt to use this case—and any rulings by the Court—to attack him,” they wrote. “Indeed, virtually every client listed on Authentic’s website has been critical in the past of President Trump and fundraised on these criticisms.”

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Merchan, in August 2023, declined to recuse himself from the case, finding that doing so “would not be in the public interest” and adding he is certain of his “ability to fair and impartial.”

In a court hearing Monday, Merchan ruled that the hush money case will head to trial on April 15 — rejecting arguments from Trump’s attorneys who sought a longer delay to review recently submitted documents.

The judge balked at the claim from Trump’s team that the Manhattan district attorneys had suppressed evidence in the case.

“You’re literally accusing the Manhattan DA’s Office and the people assigned to this case of engaging in prosecutorial misconduct and of trying to make me complicit in it and you don’t have a single cite to support that position,” Merchan told a lawyer for Trump.

Trump’s post on Tuesday morning also attacked Merchan over his role overseeing a case involving Allen Weisselberg, the former chief financial officer of the Trump Organization.

Weisselberg last year spent more than three months at Rikers Island jail after pleading guilty in connection with a tax-fraud scheme at the company. In March, he pleaded guilty to perjury charges stemming from his testimony in the civil trial where Trump and his company were found liable for violating a New York anti-fraud law.

“This judge treated him viciously” in the former case, Trump wrote of Weisselberg, “telling him either you cooperate or I’m putting you in jail for 15 years.”

“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!” Trump wrote.

The post on Truth Social came shortly after the social media app’s parent company, Trump Media & Technology Group, made its trading debut on the NASDAQ under the stock ticker DJT.

The stock soared by as much as 50%, causing at least one brief halt in trading, in its opening hours.

The merger of that media company and another shell company known as DWAC, which was finalized Friday, provided a major financial windfall to Trump. The former president’s majority stake in the company has netted him about $4 billion on paper.

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