A New York judge presiding over Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against President Donald Trump could be questioned about his own actions in the past and receive an ethics complaint.
According to Breitbart News, a number of legal experts and former prosecutors assert that Judge Juan Merchan violated New York’s Code of Judicial Conduct by making three donations to Democrats in 2020, which could lead to an ethics investigation and possibly a mistrial if he continues to preside over the case.
According to Section 100.5 of the New York Code of Judicial Conduct, judges may not “engage in any political activity, directly or indirectly.” In particular, judges are prohibited from: “(h) soliciting funds for, contributing to, or paying an assessment to a political organization or candidate.”
This is clearly stated in the yearly handbook of the New York State Advisory Committee on Judicial Ethics: “A sitting judge may never make political contributions, even to a U.S. presidential candidate or a federal congressional candidate outside of New York State (Opinion 11-146; 22 NYCRR 100.5[A][h]).”
In addition, the American Bar Association’s Model Code of Judicial Conduct states that a judge may not “solicit funds for, pay an assessment to, or make a contribution to a political organization or a candidate for public office” unless permitted by law.
“However, Merchan — a New York state judge — made three political donations in 2020, according to public Federal Election Commission records,” Breitbart reported.
A search of Federal Election Commission documents reveals that on July 26, 2020, Merchan contributed $15.00 via ActBlue to Biden for President, Trump’s opponent.
Then, he gave $10.00 to the Progressive Turnout Project, an organization devoted to encouraging Democratic electors to participate in elections.
“Additionally, he donated $10.00 to Stop Republicans, which is part of the Progressive Turnout Project that aims to resist the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s “radical right-wing legacy,” also through ActBlue,” according to Conservative Brief.
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) April 7, 2023
Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing Trump case, donated to Biden campaign in 2020 https://t.co/fR5M4y9uka pic.twitter.com/ms4LfSmWXL
— New York Post (@nypost) April 7, 2023
Several prosecutors and other legal figures are pointing out how problematic this is.
“While the amounts here are minimal, it’s surprising that a sitting judge would make political donations of any size to a partisan candidate or cause,” said Elie Honig, a senior CNN legal analyst, and former federal prosecutor.
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics professor at New York University, said that regardless of the amount, such donations are not permitted under New York’s own rules. CONTINUE READING…