Former President Donald Trump had his motion to request a recusal in the criminal case against him in Manhattan denied by a judge in New York this week.
In making their motion to request that Judge Juan Merchan recuse himself from the case, Trump’s attorneys pointed to the fact that Merchan was involved in a trial in 2022 that involved Trump’s business being convicted of crimes. In addition, they referred to work that the judge’s daughter had done for a consulting firm aligned with Democrats.
As part of their motion for recusal, Trump’s lawyers demanded that Merchan explain donations he made that totaled $35 to a few Democratic causes in the 2020 election cycle.
In a public ruling on Monday, Merchan wrote that Trump’s legal team “failed to demonstrate that there exists concrete, or even realistic reasons for recusal to be appropriate, much less required on these grounds.
Merchan specifically addressed to a claim that the fact that his daughter was employed by Authentic Campaigns meant she “stands to financially benefit from decisions this court makes in this case.” He wrote:
“The speculative and hypothetical scenarios offered by [Trump] fall well short of the legal standard.”
While Alvin Bragg, the district attorney for Manhattan, had opposed the recusal request, his office declined to comment on the judge’s decision on Monday. Susan Necheles, an attorney representing Trump, also declined to provide a comment on the matter to CBS News.
In early April, Trump pleaded not guilty in the New York state case, which is in regard to transactions that happened between Trump and Michael Cohen, who was serving as his attorney at the time.
According to prosecutors who brought the charges, Trump and Cohen had obscured reimbursements made for “hush money” payments given to Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, only days before the 2016 presidential election to have her not talk about an alleged affair she previously had with Trump.
In addition to requesting Merchan’s recusal from the case, the legal team for Trump also sought to get a different judge to oversee the case by moving it from New York state court to federal court.
In trying to make their case for a movement from state to federal court, they argued that the case’s allegations involved Trump’s service while he was president.
A federal judge already remanded the case back to the New York state level on July 19, though. In that ruling, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein wrote he believed that the payments in question in the case weren’t tied to the work Trump was doing while in the White House.
As the judge wrote:
“Trump has failed to show that the conduct charged by the indictment is for or relating to any act performed by or for the President under color of the official acts of a President. Trump also has failed to show that he has a colorable federal defense to the indictment.”
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in this case, just as he has in all four indictments that have been handed down against him this year.