CNN’s Dana Bash pressed a lawyer for former President Donald Trump over claims about the arraignment judge’s biases.
Trump raged against Juan Merchan, acting justice for the New York County Supreme Court, who is expected to oversee the arraignment of the former Trump in the next upcoming days. The judge previously oversaw the criminal tax evasion and fraud case against the Trump Organization which sentenced its chief financial officer to five months in New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex.
“The Judge ‘assigned’ to my With Hunt Case, a ‘Case’ that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME,” Trump wrote in a Friday Truth Social post. “His name is Juan Manuel Marchan [sic], was hand picked by Bragg & the Prosecutors, & is the same person who ‘railroaded’ my 75 year old former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, to take a ‘plea’ deal (Plead GUILTY, even if you are not, 90 DAYS, fight us in Court, 10 years (life!) in jail. He strong armed Allen, which a judge is not allowed to do, & treated my companies, which didn’t ‘plead,’ VICIOUSLY. APPEALING!”
Bash asked if the former president’s attorney, Joseph Tacopina, will request a different judge in the case. Tacopina said they will review all legal options related to the indictment and echoed Trump’s claims of “political persecution.” (RELATED: ‘A Blow To America’: Ted Cruz Slams ‘Banana Republic’ Indictment Of Trump)
“Had he not been running for the presidency, he would not have been indicted,” Tacopina said.
“But let’s talk about the judge,” Bash interjected. “My question is about the judge, will you ask for a different judge?”
“Well I just said, we have to get the indictment and then we will evaluate every single legal maneuver,” he answered. “I have no issue with this judge whatsoever.”
“But your client does,” she said.
Tacopina then argued that Trump “has a right” to be angry about everything given that he has been “politically persecuted” by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office. He said he “has no reason” to speculate that Merchan is biased and allow the process to continue.
Bragg’s office has been in contact with Trump’s lawyers to arrange the arraignment. Tacopina previously said the former president will neither be handcuffed nor plead guilty during the arraignment.