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Donald Trump in a criminal trial: who is Juan Merchan, the judge presiding over this historic trial?

He is one of the main figures in the historical trial that opened this Monday. Juan Merchan is the man who will preside over Donald Trump’s trial in New York criminal court. A great first step for the former US President.

The New York Supreme Court judge, a Columbia-born sixty-year-old who began his legal career in 1994, is described by observers as “tough” but fair, unaffected by who the person in front of him is. CNN reports.

“Very well prepared” and “smart”

He is an “effective and realistic” person, said Nicholas Gravante, a lawyer who represented Donald Trump’s confidant in a previous trial. “He was always very well prepared, approachable and (…) a man of his word. He treated me and my colleagues with the utmost respect, both in court and behind closed doors,” he recalls.

Colleagues describe Juan Merchan as a tough but fair man. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg/File photo

“He’s serious, smart and level-headed,” New York lawyer Ron Kuby told NBC News. A former prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office spoke to CNN about a judge who doesn’t allow a “media circus” in his court. His colleagues also recognize his reputation as a “compassionate” man who offers “second chances” to defendants, especially in the Manhattan Mental Health Court, which he helped create and which he often presides over.

The current media trial is not his first time involving the Trump galaxy. As the BBC recalls, he has already presided over a tax fraud trial against the Trump Organization and oversaw the case of Steve Bannon, a former Republican adviser.

Trump criticized his daughter’s ties to Democrats

This Monday, on the first day of the historic trial, Judge Merchan has already distinguished himself by refusing to recuse himself, as demanded by the defense, which is trying to play for time. He also reminded Donald Trump of his position as an American citizen, as did others in court, calling him “Mr. Trump” rather than “Mr. President Trump” and reminding him of the rule for anyone charged in a criminal trial to attend the hearing every day , in particular.

Enough to anger the billionaire, who ultimately felt he had a “real problem” with the judge and wouldn’t allow him to have a “fair trial.” Long before this, Donald Trump had already assured that Juan Merchan was a “serious detractor of Trump.” In early April, he also attacked Judge Lauren Merchan’s daughter, accusing her of having ties to the Democratic Party through her work. According to CNN, she is indeed the president of Authentic Campaigns, which has worked with Democratic candidates.

Faced with the allegations, the judge sought advice from the New York State Ethics Committee on whether he could continue to preside over the trial. It concluded that his impartiality could not “reasonably be called into question simply on the basis of the professional or political activities of those close to him.” Enough to strengthen his position.

Donald Trump, the Republican nominee in November’s election against outgoing President Joe Biden, is being prosecuted for payments intended to buy the silence of former porn star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election, which he narrowly defeated Democratic nominee Hillary. Clinton.

Source: Le Parisien

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