Following his indictment on Thursday, former President Donald Trump is likely to stand before a familiar face in the trial related to his alleged hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Trump, who is expected to appear for arraignment on April 4, will likely face New York Judge Juan Merchan, according to a report from NBC New York. Merchan is the same judge who presided over the case where the Trump Organization was found guilty on 17 counts that included charges of conspiracy and falsifying business records.
In January, the Manhattan judge ordered the Trump Organization to pay a fine of $1.6 million for a years-long scheme to evade taxes by handing out gifts and perks to top executives. The former chief financial officer of the company, Allen Weisselberg, agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors and testified against the company during the trial.
Trump took to his social media platform Truth Social on Friday, decrying Merchan’s reported assignment to the unprecedented case and claiming that the judge “hates” him.
“The Judge ‘assigned’ to my Witch Hunt Case, a ‘Case’ that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME,” Trump said. “His name is Juan Manuel Marchan, 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!”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg confirmed Trump’s indictment in a statement on Thursday, saying, “This evening we contacted Mr. Trump’s attorney to coordinate his surrender to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for arraignment on a Supreme Court indictment, which remains under seal. Guidance will be provided when the arraignment date in selected.”
Bragg’s investigation of Trump caused an uproar within the Republican Party, even before the indictment was announced this week. Top House Republicans opened an investigation and sent a letter to Bragg last week as it was rumored that Trump would be indicted. In the letter, the Republicans asked to interview Bragg and sought documents and communications related to the district attorney’s investigation into Trump.
The Republican leaders said they view Bragg’s prosecution of a former president and current presidential candidate as an “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority.”
Tim Pearce contributed to this report.