Judge presiding over Trump hush money case declines to recuse himself

The judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s hush money case declined to recuse himself after the 45th president’s attorneys requested his removal from the bench ahead of the trial kicking off Monday. “There is no agenda here,” Judge Juan Merchan said Monday ahead of rejecting the request, the New York Times reported. “We want to follow the law,” he added. “We want justice to be done.”Trump’s legal team had demanded Merchan’s recusal from the case, citing that Merchan’s daughter works as a Democratic consultant. Trump also weighed in last month that Merchan’s daughter had represented Democratic politicians such as Vice President Kamala Harris and Rep. Adam Schiff. TRUMP CALLS HUSH MONEY TRIAL ‘ASSAULT ON AMERICA’ AS CASE OFFICIALLY KICKS OFF”Judge Juan Merchan, who is suffering from an acute case of Trump Derangement Syndrome (whose daughter represents Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, and other Radical Liberals, has just posted a picture of me behind bars, her obvious goal, and makes it completely impossible for me to get a fair trial) has now issued another illegal, un-American, unConstitutional ‘order,’ as he continues to try and take away my Rights,” Trump posted on Truth Social last month after he was given a gag order limiting what he could publicly say about the case. TRUMP’S HUSH MONEY PAYMENT TRIAL GETS UNDERWAY AS JURY SELECTION BEGINSTrump’s legal team had also called on Merchan last year to recuse himself, pointing to his daughter’s work and previous small donations Merchan made to Democrat causes for the 2020 election. The judge also denied that request for recusal, citing that a judicial ethics advisory committee had determined his daughter’s interests would not impact his ability to fairly oversee the case. NINE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TRUMP TRIAL, ANSWEREDTrump’s hush money trial kicked off Monday morning, with the former president seen leaving Trump Tower before heading to the Manhattan Criminal Court, where he slammed the case as “political persecution.””Nothing like this has ever happened before,” he said in Lower Manhattan. “This is political persecution. … It’s a case that should have never been brought.””This is an assault on America and that’s why I’m very proud to be here,” Trump added. “This is really an attack on a political opponent.”Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. The trial focuses on payments made by Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to former pornographic actor Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election. The $130,000 payment was to allegedly quiet her claims of an alleged extramarital affair she had with Trump in 2006.Trump has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty to the 34 charges against him.Prosecutors say that the Trump Organization reimbursed Cohen and falsely recorded the payments as legal expenses. Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor, and prosecutors are working to prove that Trump falsified records with an intent to commit or conceal a second crime, which is a felony. The case is anticipated to last at least six weeks, with jury selection alone anticipated to last at least a week. 
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