Trump Bashed Judge’s Daughter on X Post. Court Says It’s Not Her

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump cited a bogus social media account to make a false claim that the daughter of the New York judge presiding over his criminal hush-money trial had posted an image of the former president behind bars, according to a state court system spokesman.

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Trump, who faces an April 15 trial in Manhattan over alleged payments to a porn star, assailed Judge Juan Merchan in a social media post Wednesday, including a claim that his daughter posted the picture on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter. A court official said Loren Merchan had used a similar Twitter account, but that she’d deleted it about a year ago.

“It is not linked to her email address, nor has she posted under that screen name since she deleted the account,” Al Baker, a spokesman for the New York state court system, said Thursday. “It represents the reconstitution, last April, and manipulation of an account she long ago abandoned.”

Trump claimed Merchan’s daughter posted the doctored photo of him behind prison bars, saying it was “her obvious goal.” He also claimed she “represents Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris” and “Radical Liberals.”

Loren Merchan has worked for a digital marketing agency that had Vice President Harris, a Democrat, as a client. Trump is campaigning for a return to the White House in the 2024 election and is the presumptive Republican nominee.

The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the court’s claim that the account he’d cited was fake.

Gag Order

In his social media post Wednesday, Trump attacked the judge for rejecting his request to delay the trial and for imposing a gag order that restricts what the former president can say about trial witnesses, prosecutors, court staff and jurors — but not about the judge or his family.

The former president claimed the gag order was “illegal” and said Merchan was “wrongfully attempting to deprive me of my first Amendment Right to speak out.”

In the Manhattan criminal case, Trump is accused of falsifying business records as part of a scheme to prevent voters from hearing salacious news about him before the 2016 election. He’s pleaded not guilty and claims the case, and three other criminal prosecutions, are part of a political “witch hunt” against him.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges Trump directed his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to pay porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her claim of an affair with Trump a decade earlier. Trump is accused of reimbursing Cohen in 2017 by falsely claiming the payments were for legal fees.

In August, the former president asked Merchan to step down from the case, claiming the judge was biased because of his daughter as well as a $15 donation Merchan made to Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. Merchan rejected that request, saying Trump “failed to demonstrate that there exists concrete or even realistic reasons for recusal to be appropriate.”

During Trump’s civil fraud trial last year, New York state Judge Arthur Engoron imposed a limited gag order upon the former president after he falsely claimed the judge’s clerk was the girlfriend of US Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat. Engoron eventually fined Trump $15,000 for twice violating the directive.

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