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Judge in Trump Hush Money Case Accused Of Making ‘Sleazy’ Move Ahead of Tria

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Conservatives have stepped up their criticism of Judge Juan Merchan, who is presiding over former President Donald Trump’s hush money case, for what they are characterizing as a “sleazy” move ahead of the trial, which began on Monday.

Critics blasted Merchan for effectively preventing Orthodox Jews from sitting on the New York jury by holding proceedings on Fridays, “when Jewish people observe a period of rest known as the Shabbat that prevents them from undergoing work or other activities such as driving or cooking,” Newsweek reported.

However, as noted by others, Shabbat spans from Friday sunset through to sunset on Saturday. This timing allows for the possibility of observant Jews participating in jury duty during daylight hours, given that in New York, the sun sets around 7:30 p.m. As the trial progresses into summer, the sun will set increasingly later, aligning with the conclusion of daily court proceedings.

Fox News host Mark Levin was among those who accused Merchan of wanting to prevent Orthodox Jews from being on the falsifying business records trial jury.

Levin mentioned that Trump enjoys significant backing from Orthodox Jews. A poll conducted by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) shortly before the 2020 election revealed that 74 percent of Orthodox Jews favored Trump over Joe Biden.

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“Leftwing anti-Trump Democrat judge in phony case against Trump starting tomorrow has purposely scheduled trial days to include Fridays to prevent more conservative pro-Trump Orthodox Jews from serving on the jury,” Levin posted on the X platform. “This is yet another sleazy move by this judge.”

Dan Schneider, vice president for the Media Research Center’s Free Speech Alliance group, made a similar remark on the platform.

“Orthodox Jews to be excluded from [Manhattan District Attorney Alvin] Bragg’s jury pool. The NYC demographic group most strongly supportive of Trump is the orthodox Jewish community,” Schneider posted.

“So, no surprise that the very biased judge in Bragg’s case scheduled the trial to include Fridays instead of Wednesdays. Very unusual, but understandable since this switch will necessarily exclude all orthodox Jews from the jury pool. Democrat operatives are very clever.”

In a Sunday night post on Truth Social, Trump accused the trial in New York of “election interference,” which he and others believe is aimed at hindering his chances of winning the 2024 election by keeping him in court and off the campaign trail.

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“Just four years ago I was a very popular and successful President of the United States, getting more votes than any sitting President in history,” he wrote. “Tomorrow morning I’ll be in Criminal Court, before a totally conflicted Judge, a Corrupt Prosecutor, a Legal System in CHAOS, a State being overrun by violent crime and corruption, and Crooked Joe Biden’s henchmen ‘Rigging the System’ against his Political Opponent, ME!”

“I will be fighting for myself but, much more importantly, I will be fighting for our Country,” he wrote. “Election Interference like this has never happened in the USA before and, hopefully, will never happen again. We are now a Nation in serious Decline, a Failing Nation, but we will soon be a Great Nation Again. November 5th will be the most important day in the History of the United States.”

He concluded with slightly more enthusiasm, going back to all caps to write, “MAGA2024! SEE YOU TOMORROW.”

Because of Merchan’s Democratic affiliation and the judge’s supposed “hostility” toward the presumed Republican nominee for president in 2024, Trump’s legal team had filed a motion to have Merchan removed from the trial.

In April of last year, Bragg filed 34 first-degree charges against Trump for falsifying business records. The charges also related to purported hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Bragg alleged that Trump “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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