Stefanik files complaint claiming judge in Trump trial violated rules

Rep. Elise Stefanik has filed a formal complaint against acting Supreme Court Justice Juan M. Merchan, the judge overseeing Donald J. Trump’s criminal trial in New York City, alleging that the judge is violating conduct rules because of his daughter’s work with a Democratic campaign advisory group.

In a letter to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, Stefanik said that Merchan is violating conduct rules by presiding over this case, and alleged that his daughter’s work as president of Authentic Campaigns, which works with Democratic politicians and political action committees, is an unacceptable conflict of interest because the group works with political groups that have used the case to fundraise.

“The clients of Judge Merchan’s daughter have raked in nearly $100 million and have used President Trump’s indictment — a case over which her father presides — as fundraising fodder,” Stefanik’s letter reads. “It is common sense that, if these groups make no money, they cannot afford to pay for services provided by individuals such as Ms. Merchan. The more money raised, the more it can be spent on services.”

Stefanik alleges that this is a violation of a specific section of the state’s judicial conduct code that requires a judge to recuse themselves if they are aware that someone within six degrees of relationship has an interest, financial or otherwise, that could be impacted by the proceeding.

This is one of a handful of formal complaints Stefanik has filed in recent months, alleging misconduct or malfeasance in the various criminal and civil court proceedings against Trump.

On May 1, Stefanik filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department, alleging that special counsel Jack Smith is illegally interfering with the 2024 election as he investigates allegations that Trump tried to illegally interfere in the 2020 election.

In mid-February, Stefanik filed a formal complaint with the New York Committee on Professional Standards, alleging that Attorney General Letitia A. James is behaving inappropriately as she and her office carry out the prosecution for the criminal case in New York that Merchan is overseeing.

In November, Stefanik filed an ethics complaint against Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, who oversaw Trump’s civil fraud trial, alleging that he was weaponizing the law to unfairly penalize Trump. That complaint, made to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, was dismissed.


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