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Former President Donald Trump continued his attacks on Manhattan Judge Juan Merchan, who ruled that Trump’s “hush money” case will go to trial on April 15. Trump called for Merchan to recuse himself and for the trial to be moved to Staten Island, alleging bias and political motivations. Trump also criticized the prosecutor, District Attorney Alvin Bragg, accusing him of being influenced by a former prosecutor with ties to the Department of Justice and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Merchan’s impartiality was questioned by Trump, who pointed to the fact that Merchan’s daughter worked for a political consulting firm that counts President Joe Biden as a client. Trump labeled Merchan as a “Trump Hater” suffering from “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” Trump’s attacks extended to Bragg, claiming that the case against him was initiated due to external influence and suggesting that the prosecution amounts to election interference, reprising the controversial “STOP THE STEAL” rallying cry from his post-2020 election loss.

In the background, Trump’s history of attacking judges, prosecutors, and court staff in his various legal cases was highlighted. In response to these actions, a gag order was issued prohibiting Trump from making disparaging public statements about court staff in his civil fraud trial. Trump has targeted Merchan in the past for overseeing tax fraud cases against the Trump Organization while working as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan, as well as reposting a call for a New York judge to face citizen’s arrest in a separate civil fraud case.

Looking ahead, Trump expressed his intention to appeal Merchan’s decision to dismiss the charges against him. The case involves 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, stemming from allegations that he reimbursed his former attorney, Michael Cohen, for a payment made to Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006. This trial would be the first of Trump’s four criminal indictments to go to trial, setting the stage for a high-profile legal battle between Trump and the state of New York.

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