Bragg opposes judge’s recusal from hush money case over daughter’s work with Democrats

Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg accused Donald Trump of using a second recusal motion against the judge overseeing the former president’s hush money case to try to delay his forthcoming trial.

Prosecutors wrote in court papers made public on Monday that Trump’s request was “yet another last-ditch attempt to address defendant’s real objective, which is — as the Court has already recognized — to delay this proceeding indefinitely.” They said Judge Juan Merchan should deny the request.

Trump asked Merchan last week to recuse himself on the grounds that his daughter Loren Merchan’s ownership stake in Authentic, a top Democratic marketing firm, creates a conflict of interest for the judge.

“The manner in which Authentic and Ms. Merchan are marketing the company, and making money, through expressions of animus toward President Trump has created a prohibited appearance of impropriety,” Trump’s attorneys argued.

The attorneys noted that Loren Merchan’s company’s clients have recently included Trump’s top political rivals, such as President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and that those clients have raised money by referencing Trump’s criminal proceedings in New York.

Trump initially asked Juan Merchan to recuse himself last year, but the judge denied the request, pointing to a judicial ethics panel’s finding that the judge’s daughter did not present a conflict of interest.

Trump’s new request for recusal was “replete with references to facts that are not new at all,” prosecutors said in Monday’s filing.

They claimed Trump used “warmed-over versions of facts” that he cited in his previous request, such as noting in Trump’s new request that he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, rather than “actively campaigning for re-election,” which is the language Trump used in the first motion.

The prosecutors pointed to multiple court cases that they said supported Bragg’s position that even if a judge’s immediate family member “participates in an industry” that generally may be affected by the case, that fact does not provide a basis for recusal.

Trump has argued Loren Merchan could directly profit from the outcome of the case.

Schiff’s Senate campaign has, since the beginning of last year, for instance, paid Authentic more than $11 million for advertising services, according to Federal Election Commission data. Schiff has made references to Trump’s hush money case to solicit campaign donations.

While Trump provided these details in his recusal request, prosecutors said the former president still provided no evidence that Authentic “stands to make more or less money” depending on the outcome of the case.


“Defendant’s motion is not a good-faith effort to identify legitimate grounds for this Court’s recusal,” they wrote.

The trial in the case is set to begin next week with jury selection and is expected to last through about the end of May.

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