On Friday, former President Donald Trump shared his frustration about the judge who was chosen to preside over his arraignment next week in the Manhattan Supreme Court.
Following Trump’s high-profile indictment on Thursday, he has been very outspoken with his thoughts on the case against him, calling it a “witch hunt” and “political persecution and election interference at the highest level in history.”
Juan Manuel Merchan, an Acting Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, has been chosen to preside over Trump’s arraignment – something that Trump is less than thrilled about.
Merchan previously presided over the case of Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s former CFO. Weisselberg ultimately pled guilty to tax fraud charges and is now serving time on Rikers Island.
The same judge also presided over the tax fraud trial that resulted in the Trump Organization being convicted on multiple charges of conspiracy and falsifying business records.
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On Truth Social, Trump shared his frustration with the appointed judge, claiming that he “railroaded” Weisselberg.
“The Judge ‘assigned to my Witch Hunt Case, a ‘Case’ that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME. His name is Juan Manuel Marchan [sic], was hand picked by Bragg & the Prosecutors, & is the same person who ‘railroaded’ my 75 year old former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, to take a ‘plea’ deal (Plead GUILTY, even if you are not, 90 DAYS, fight us in Court, 10 years (life!) in jail. He strong armed Allen, which a judge is not allowed to do, & treated my companies, which didn’t ‘plead,’ VICIOUSLY. APPEALING!”
In response to Trump’s claim that Merchan was “hand-picked” by Bragg and the Prosecutors, a spokesperson for New York State Courts reported that the District Attorney’s Office “absolutely” does not hand-pick judges for cases.
Jose A. Fanjul, a former Manhattan district attorney, has a much more positive opinion of Merchan. Speaking to The New York Times, Fnajul said, “He is someone who reads every word on every page of every filing and every footnote, and then the cases that you cite to him.”
“His fidelity to the law and to getting it right lends to him this sort of moral purpose of what he’s doing that makes it a joy to practice in front of him.”
Merchan has served as an active justice with the New York State Supreme Court since 2009. He completed his business degree at Baruch College and studied law at the Hofstra University School of Law.