Judge Juan Merchan, the New York state judge who presided over former President Donald Trump’s arraignment Tuesday and the recent criminal tax fraud trial involving the Trump Organization, appears to have donated $15 to President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign, federal campaign contribution data shows.
Federal Election Commission reports show a Juan Merchan, who lists his occupation as a judge with the New York State Office of Court Administration, donated $15 earmarked for Biden for President, Biden’s campaign committee, on July 26, 2020. There is no other judge listed on the state judicial directory sharing Merchan’s name. It’s against federal law to donate in someone else’s name.
Neither a spokesperson for the state court system nor the judge’s personal chambers responded to requests for comment when asked whether the judge made those donations.
Records also list two other small donations from the same Juan Merchan to progressive groups a day after the Biden donation — $10 donations on July 27, 2020 to the groups Stop Republicans and Progressive Turnout Project — groups that are affiliated with each other, meaning it’s possible that a donation of $20 was split evenly across the two groups. All three donations, including the one to Biden, were made through ActBlue, the popular online donation-processing firm used by virtually every major Democratic campaign and allied group.
The third donation, $15 to Biden one day prior, is the only other federal political donation attributed to a Juan Merchan of New York in the Federal Election Commission’s database, which spans multiple decades.
It’s not uncommon for judges to donate to political candidates — a search of federal campaign donations in 2021 and 2022 turns up more than 30,000 donations from people listing “judge” as their occupation, donations in amounts ranging from single-digit sums to more than $10,000.
These donations span a variety of groups of both parties, including groups affiliated with Trump. And other judges donated to Biden’s 2020 campaign on the same report where the Merchan donation appears.
But it would mean Merchan has donated to the one-time — and potential future — political opponent of a defendant now facing a trial in his courtroom.
The donations likely only continue to fuel Trump’s criticism of the judge and his family, who he’s accused of being biased against him (Trump and his family have also criticized Merchan’s daughter for her work for then-California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris’ presidential bid, and subsequently for the Biden-Harris presidential ticket).
“The donations were unwise, as a matter of appearance,” Chuck Rosenberg, an NBC News legal analyst and a former federal prosecutor, said. “But, appearances matter.”
Trump’s presidential campaign did not immediately return a request for comment about the apparent donations.
Source : Yahoo