Judge overseeing Trump's hush money case donated to Biden's campaign

The judge who is presiding over Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial has been cautioned after making a political campaign contribution to President Joe Biden.

The ethics complaint made against Justice Juan Merchan overseeing Trump's trial has been dismissed. He was cleared by the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct last July, but the panel did warn that the complaint could be a problem if he faces a misconduct allegation in the future.

Al Baker, a spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration, told the New York Post: “Justice Merchan said the complaint, from more than a year ago, was dismissed in July with a caution." A caution means that the commission will factor in this complaint if Merchan is accused of wrongdoing again in the future. It's unclear who filed the original complained.

judge overseeing trump's hush money case donated to biden's campaign

Trump

The judge donated $15 earmarked for the “Biden for President” campaign on July 26, 2020 and then $10 the next day to the Progressive Turnout Project and Stop Republicans, according to the Federal Election Commission. His donations were made through ActBlue, which is the Democratic Party's preferred online fundraising platform. The mission of the Progressive Turnout Project is to “rally Democrats to vote", according to its website.

Stop Republicans, a subsidiary of the Progressive Turnout Project, describes itself as “a grassroots-funded effort dedicated to resisting the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s radical right-wing legacy". A judge cannot make a political donation as it would violate state Commission on Judicial Conduct rules.

judge overseeing trump's hush money case donated to biden's campaign

Biden

The former president, 77, has spoken out against Merchan since his indictment on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records calling him a "Trump-hating judge". It comes as Trump launched into a furious diatribe at Merchan after labelling him a "Rigged Judge." Trump’s lawyers — echoing his recent social media complaints — had urged Merchan to step aside from the case, alleging bias and a conflict of interest because his daughter is a Democratic political consultant.

His lawyers had said it is improper for Judge Merchan “to preside over these proceedings while Ms. Merchan benefits, financially and reputationally, from the manner in which this case is interfering” with Trump’s campaign as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

judge overseeing trump's hush money case donated to biden's campaign

Trump in a crowd

Loren Merchan is president of Authentic Campaigns, which has collected at least £56million in payments from Democratic candidates and causes since she helped found the company in 2018, records show.

The firm’s past clients include President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Senate Majority PAC, a big-spending political committee affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senate Majority PAC has paid Authentic Campaigns $15.2 million, according to campaign finance disclosures.

The former president continued his criticism of the judge writing: "We have a Rigged Judge, who is working for the Democrat Party and refuses to terminate this 'case,' which should have never been brought by Soft on Crime Alvin Bragg. Judge Merchan should immediately removed, and the Appellate Courts have to take over.

"That also applies to Corrupt Judge Engoron, who knew I did nothing wrong, and still fraudulently fined me $500 Million Dollars while having no knowledge of Valuation, Finance, or in any way what he was doing."

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