Stefanik Files Complaint Over Trump Hush-Money Case, Questions Whether Judge Selection Was Random
United States Representative Elise Stefanik makes a statement as Northwestern, Rutgers, and UCLA Presidents to testify before the committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, United States on May 23, 2024.
(Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) filed a complaint on Tuesday that raised doubts about whether the judge in former President Donald Trump‘s hush-money trial had been randomly selected for the case.

Rules for the New York State Trial Courts require criminal actions be assigned to a judge via “random selection” authorized by the chief administrator, Stefanik wrote in a letter. Yet Merchan is not only presiding over Trump’s trial but also oversaw a criminal trial against the Trump Organization and will be presiding over Trump ally Steve Bannon’s fraud trial.

Stefanik also pointed out that Merchan has donated to groups supporting Democrats and has a daughter who is a political consultant with a record of doing work for Democrat candidates.

“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 said.

Stefanik said the “simple answer” for why Merchan was picked for all three cases was that whoever made the assignment “intentionally” selected him to “increase the chance” of convictions.

The letter was addressed to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct and Kay-Ann Porter Campbell, inspector general for the New York State Unified Court System Office of Court Administration.

Stefanik requested that both recipients “investigate this anomaly to determine whether the required random selection process was in fact followed” in the trio of cases she mentioned.

“If Acting Justice Merchan or any other Justices of the Court are found to have violated these rules, I would hope that the Commission would subject them to the required discipline,” Stefanik wrote. “And if any non-judicial employees of the Court are involved in such a scheme, I would hope that the Inspector General subject them to the appropriate sanction.”

The New York Post reported a statement from the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) that offered an explanation for Merchan’s involvement in Trump-related cases.


“As we’ve said repeatedly, including in April 2023, Judge Merchan was assigned to supervise the special grand juries that investigated the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg as well as Donald Trump,” said OCA spokesperson Al Baker.

“He was, in turn, assigned the indictments that arose from those investigations, which is common practice since the judge supervising the grand jury investigation already has some familiarity with these often-complex cases and can manage them more efficiently,” Baker added.

Stefanik, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, is seen as a contender to be Trump’s vice presidential running mate. The congresswoman previously filed an ethics complaint against Merchan, warning of a potential conflict of interest related to his daughter’s work.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Stefanik Files Complaint Over Trump Hush-Money Case, Questions Whether Judge Selection Was Random