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Stefanik calls Trump verdict ‘rigged’

Rep. Elise Stefanik speaks to volunteers making calls at Team Trump New Hampshire headquarters, Saturday, Jan. 20 in Manchester, New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik reacted to the 34-count conviction of former President Donald Trump on Thursday by saying the judge in the trial was “corrupt,” that the prosecution was “on a vendetta” and that the verdict was “rigged.”

The House Republican Conference Chairwoman called the verdict — which made Trump the first former president to be convicted of felonies — “rigged,” a “zombie case,” a “Biden trial” and a “sham trial,” making several of the same complaints about the case as Trump.

“Today’s verdict shows how corrupt and rigged the American justice system has become under Joe Biden,” Stefanik said in a statement.

She said she supports Trump’s promise to appeal this decision and hopes for the verdict to be overturned.

Stefanik has portrayed herself as a “key ally” to Trump throughout the trial. She has filed several formal complaints against judges and prosecutors in Trump’s four trials, attempting to defend him by trying to remove or discredit the people bringing or overseeing the cases against him.

Stefanik alleged that this case — about the falsification of business records to conceal “hush money” payments to a adult film star he allegedly had sex with in an effort to influence the 2016 election — only happened because President Joe Biden’s allies were making a “desperate attempt” to save the current president’s “failing campaign” as Biden and Trump prepare for a rematch election in November.

“From the start, the scales of justice were stacked against President Trump,” Stefanik said. “Joe Biden, Far Left Democrats and their stenographers in the mainstream media have made it clear they will stop at nothing to prevent President Trump from returning to the White House.”

The judge

Stefanik said the judge overseeing the case was “corrupt and highly conflicted” and “routinely” sided and with the prosecution. She called him a “Biden donor.”

Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the case, donated $15 to Biden’s 2020 campaign and was cleared of misconduct by the state State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

She said Merchan has imposed a gag order on Trump and his team, “which prevented them from talking about this rigged witch hunt.” Trump has routinely violated this gag order and was fined $9,000 for the nine violations.

Stefanik also said Merchan prevented Trump’s defense from calling a “critical witness” to the stand. Trump had wanted to call former Federal Election Commission chairman Brad Smith to testify, but Merchan limited what Smith could talk about to background information and definitions, so Trump’s lawyers chose to not call Smith to the stand.

Last week, Stefanik filed a misconduct complaint against Merchan saying he had a “conflict of interest” because his daughter is the president of a firm that represents Democrat campaigns. These campaigns, she points out, are fundraising off of Trump’s trial. Stefanik has also been fundraising off of Trump’s trial.

Stefanik alleged that she “uncovered and reported” that Merchan’s daughter has also been directly receiving checks from Democrats in Congress. But the citation for this links to a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, from the white nationalist blogger Laura Loomer. Loomer made this claim and tagged Stefanik in the post. Loomer’s claim is unverified and she has an entire portion of her Wikipedia page dedicated to all of the times she has reported misinformation and made false claims.

On Tuesday, Stefanik filed an official misconduct complaint with the court alleging a sort of conspiracy, saying Merchan’s random assignment to the case was “not random at all.”

Merchan has also overseen a previous Trump Organization criminal trial and is set to oversee one involving former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

“The probability of two specific criminal cases being assigned to the same justice is quite low, and the probability of three specific criminal cases being assigned to the same justice is infinitesimally small,” Stefanik wrote in her complaint. “And yet, we see Acting Justice Merchan on all three cases.”

The prosecution

Stefanik pointed out that prosecutor Susan Hoffinger donated $500 to Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.

Stefanik said that prosecutor Michael Colangelo “was sent from Biden’s DOJ to attack President Trump, (and) was paid by the DNC.”

Colangelo was paid $12,000 as a political consultant for the Democratic National Committee in 2018. His wife has donated thousands of dollars to Biden’s campaign.

Stefanik said District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who brought the case, is a “Democrat political operative” who was “on a vendetta” and a “a Soros-funded Far Left Democrat,” repeating an antisemitic conspiracy theory she’s shared before.

The witness

“The verdict hinged on the testimony of a convicted felon who was disbarred for lying,” Stefanik said.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who testified against his former client in this trial, pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion and campaign finance violations in 2018 for crimes committed at Trump’s orders with intent to influence the 2016 election.

In November, Stefanik demanded the Attorney General investigate Cohen for committing perjury and knowingly making false statements while testifying under oath while speaking to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 2019. In May, she followed up on this with another letter to the AG.

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