May 28, 2024

By Emma Colton


New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik sent a letter to New York officials on Tuesday arguing there may have been “misconduct” within the New York Supreme Court system to ensure Judge Juan Merchan presided over the unprecedented NY v. Trump trial.

“One cannot help but suspect that the ‘random selection’ at work in the assignment of Acting Justice Merchan, a Democrat Party donor, to these cases involving prominent Republicans, is in fact not random at all,” Stefanik wrote in the letter, which she sent to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Office of the Inspector General of the New York State Unified Court System, warning of “potential misconduct.” The Daily Mail first reported the letter Tuesday.

Stefanik pointed to how Merchan has overseen a handful of cases involving Trump or his allies, including the NY v. Trump case, the criminal trial against the Trump Organization in 2022 – a case that found the organization guilty of tax fraud – and is set to oversee the upcoming trial of Trump ally Steve Bannon.

“The simple answer to why Acting Justice Merchan has been assigned to these cases would seem to be that whoever made the assignment intentionally selected Acting Justice Merchan to handle them to increase the chance that Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, and Steven Bannon would ultimately be convicted,” Stefanik continued in the letter.

Her letter called on the commission and the Inspector General to “investigate this anomaly to determine whether the required random selection process was in fact followed in the assignment of these criminal cases to Acting Justice Merchan.”

She continued that if Merchan or other justices of the court violated assignment rules, she hopes the “Commission would subject them to the required discipline.”

The letter comes the same day the defense and prosecution teams held closing arguments in the NY v. Trump trial.

Last week, Stefanik filed an ethics complaint against Merchan for an alleged conflict of interest related to his daughter’s role representing Democrat politicians and political action committees. Merchan’s daughter is the president of Authentic Campaigns, a digital marketing agency that has included clients such as Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Stefanik said in her complaint last week that she learned that the New York State Commission on Judiciary Conduct “privately cautioned [Merchan] in July over his illegal political donations to Biden and Democrats in 2020.”

“This private caution has not deterred Judge Merchan’s judicial misconduct, as evidenced by this current complaint,” she wrote. “Judge Merchan appears driven by Democrat partisanship and financial gain for his daughter.”

Stefanik said it is “imperative that New Yorkers and all Americans have confidence that justice is being dispensed fairly in New York.”

Trump has also railed against Merchan as a “conflicted” judge and previously called on him to recuse himself from the case, citing his daughter’s work as a political consultant.

“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 ahead of the trial kicking off.

Trump has since been placed under a gag order, which bans him from publicly speaking about witnesses or making remarks about court staff, DA staff or family members of staff. Following the gag order, Trump has taken to calling Merchan “conflicted” and “corrupt” but not going into great detail about Merchan’s alleged corruption.

“We have a judge who’s highly conflicted. He happens to be corrupt. Yes, there is confliction. It’s the worst that anybody’s seen. Nobody has ever seen anything like it,” Trump said Tuesday morning ahead of court.

Last week, Trump said Merchan could gain back “respect” if he dismissed the case.

“This case should be dropped by the judge. I think the judge, if he did, that … could gain the respect back. The appellate court has to step in, something has to happen. Think of it, the Republican Party, one of the two great parties, nominates somebody to be their candidate. And that candidate now has been sitting here for almost five weeks in a freezing cold icebox listening to this stuff,” Trump said last Monday.

Fox News Digital reached out to the offices of the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Office of the Inspector General of the New York State Unified Court System on Tuesday evening but did not immediately receive responses.