Trump targets hush money trial judge’s daughter one day after gag order

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at 40 Wall Street on March 25, 2024 in New York City. 

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Donald Trump on Wednesday again targeted on social media the daughter of the judge in his upcoming criminal hush money trial — one day after that judge imposed a gag order limiting what Trump can say about the case.

Trump, in a Truth Social screed, slammed New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan as a “hater” and repeated his call for the judge to recuse himself from the case.

Trump pointed to Merchan’s daughter’s work in progressive politics, and a social media account that he claims is hers, as evidence that it is “completely impossible” for him to get a “fair trial.”

Merchan’s daughter “represents Crooked Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, and other Radical Liberals, [and] has just posted a picture of me behind bars, her obvious goal,” Trump claimed.

The posts marked Trump’s second day in a row highlighting Merchan’s daughter’s role as a president at Authentic Campaigns, a Democratic political consulting firm. The firm touts its work for clients including President Joe Biden, whom Trump is campaigning against, and for other Democratic groups and politicians.

“Maybe the Judge is such a hater because his daughter makes money by working to ‘Get Trump,’ and when he rules against me over and over again, he is making her company, and her, richer and richer,” Trump wrote. “How can this be allowed?”

Trump attorney Todd Blanche declined to comment on Trump’s posts in light of the gag order, which restricts him from making certain statements about “family members of any counsel or staff member.”

The posts extended Trump’s stream of attacks against Merchan that began after the judge set an April 15 trial date in the hush money case. Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Trump’s latest attacks on Merchan’s daughter went further than his past comments by claiming she “just posted” a picture of him behind bars.

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Trump appeared to be referencing a social media account on X, which Authentic had previously associated with Merchan’s daughter.

As recently as Wednesday, that X account featured as its profile photo an edited headshot of Trump behind metal bars. As of Wednesday afternoon, that profile photo had been changed to a childhood photo of Vice President Kamala Harris. Harris had shared that photo on social media during a 2019 Democratic primary debate, shortly after she attacked then-rival Biden over his record on busing.

It is unclear if the account handle currently belongs to Merchan’s daughter. X indicates that the account “joined in April 2023,” months after Authentic most recently referenced it on social media.

Trump was arraigned in the hush money case that month. Around the same time, multiple right-wing news outlets published reports about Merchan’s daughter’s political activities.

The X account’s posts are protected, meaning that they can only be viewed by approved followers. A spokesman for the New York courts did not immediately respond when asked by CNBC to confirm or deny that the account currently belongs to Merchan’s daughter.

Trump nevertheless asserted Wednesday that the account is hers, while he railed against his newest gag order.

“So, let me get this straight, the Judge’s daughter is allowed to post pictures of her ‘dream’ of putting me in jail, the Manhattan D.A. is able to say whatever lies about me he wants, the Judge can violate our Laws and Constitution at every turn, but I am not allowed to talk about the attacks against me, and the Lunatics trying to destroy my life, and prevent me from winning the 2024 Presidential Election, which I am dominating?” he wrote.

The gag order imposed Tuesday does not completely limit Trump from talking about his critics. He can still criticize the prosecutor in his case, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and he is not explicitly barred from speaking about Merchan himself.

Trump is, however, barred from making public statements about likely witnesses and jurors in the case.

And he cannot speak about lawyers in the case, court staff, employees in the D.A.’s office and their family members if those statements are made with the “intent to materially interfere” with the proceedings.

Merchan in the order wrote that Trump’s prior statements about various figures involved in the case “were threatening, inflammatory [and] denigrating.”

“Such inflammatory statements undoubtedly risk impeding the orderly administration of this Court,” wrote the judge, who also noted “the nature and impact of the statements made against this Court and a family member thereof.”

“Given that the eve of trial is upon us, it is without question that the imminency of the risk of harm is now paramount,” he wrote.

Trump had referenced Merchan’s daughter on Truth Social around the time of his arraignment in the hush money case.

Trump’s attorneys in a court filing last May referenced Merchan’s daughter’s work as they urged the judge to recuse himself from the case.

Merchan, in August, declined to do so.

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