Trump, now indicted, attacks hush money case Judge Juan Merchan: ‘HATES ME’

NEW YORK — The now-indicted former President Donald Trump on Friday attacked as “vicious” the Manhattan judge who will be presiding over his trial in the Stormy Daniels hush money case.

Misspelling the name of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan, Trump trashed the respected judge for his conduct of the trial that resulted in the conviction of the Trump Organization on tax fraud charges.

“The judge 'assigned' to my witch hunt case .... hates me,” Trump said on his social media site.

Trump falsely claimed that Merchan bullied CFO Allen Weisselberg to plead guilty in exchange for testimony in the Trump Organization case.

“(Merchan) is the same person who ‘railroaded’ my 75 year old former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, to take a ‘plea’ deal,” Trump said. “He strong armed Allen, which a judge is not allowed to do, & treated my companies ... viciously.”

Two Trump Org entities were convicted in December of all charges and ordered to pay $1.6 million in fines. After pleading guilty, Weisselberg got a five-month prison sentence, which he is now serving at Rikers Island.

Trump also falsely claimed that Merchan was “hand picked by Bragg & the prosecutors.” In fact, prosecutors play no role in determining which Manhattan judges are assigned to cases.

Merchan had previously been assigned to oversee the grand jury deliberations in the hush money case after a random draw, a source familiar with he case told The News. A judge who oversees a grand jury presides over any criminal cases that result from the probe, the source added.

In criminal courts, judges typically handle cases from certain bureaus. Merchan handles many of the financial cases in Manhattan Supreme Court. The prosecutors who brought the cases against the Trump Organization were from the DA’s Investigation Division, the Major Economic Crimes Bureau, Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigations Bureau.

The office of court administration declined to comment on Trump’s outburst.

Trump was indicted Thursday by a Manhattan grand jury in the hush money case. He is expected to be arraigned next week in a lower Manhattan court.

The charges are not known and are unlikely to be revealed until the arraignment.

As well as misspelling Merchan’s last name, Trump referred to the judge as “Juan Manuel,” his first and middle names, in an apparent effort to highlight the judge’s Latino heritage. Trump often refers to former President Barack Obama as “Barack Hussein Obama,” a similar attempt to draw attention to his father’s foreign heritage.

Merchan, who has been a Manhattan judge since 2009, was born in Columbia and moved to Queens with his family as a child.

He studied at Baruch College and then Hofstra University School of Law before beginning his legal career as a Manhattan assistant district attorney in 1994.

Merchan served in New York State Attorney General’s office until 2006 when he was appointed as a judge in Bronx Family Court.