Elise Stefanik files complaint against Juan Merchan alleging assignment over Trump case wasn't "random"

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Quick Hit:

New York Rep. and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik has filed a misconduct complaint against New York Judge Juan Merchan, alleging that his assignment to oversee Donald Trump's Manhattan hush money trial and other cases involving Trump's allies is not random. Stefanik's complaint calls for an investigation into whether the required random selection process was followed.

Key Details:

  • Stefanik's complaint alleges potential misconduct related to the repeated assignment of Justice Merchan, a Democrat Party donor, to criminal cases related to Trump and his allies.
  • Justice Merchan presides over the criminal case against Trump brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the criminal trial against the Trump Organization, and the upcoming criminal trial of Steve Bannon.
  • Stefanik argues that the probability of three specific criminal cases being assigned to the same justice is infinitesimally small, suggesting that the selection process may not have been random.

Diving Deeper:

Stefanik's complaint, filed with the inspector general of the New York State Unified Court System, calls for an investigation into whether the required random selection process was followed in assigning Justice Merchan to these cases. She notes that there were at least two dozen sitting justices eligible to oversee the cases, yet Merchan, an acting justice, was selected for all three related to Trump and his allies.

The congresswoman also highlighted Merchan's political donations, including a $15 contribution to the "Biden for President" campaign and $10 contributions to the Progressive Turnout Project and Stop Republicans. These donations, Stefanik argues, further suggest that Merchan's assignment to these cases may not have been random.

Stefanik's complaint also points to the involvement of Merchan's daughter, Loren Merchan, in Democratic politics. Loren Merchan is the head of the consulting firm Authentic Campaigns, which Stefanik argues stands to profit greatly if Trump is convicted.

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