Judge Merchan Questions Trump Attorney’s Credibility

(RepublicanJournal.org) – Former president Donald Trump’s Manhattan hush money trial seems to be off to a tense start. The judge has already questioned the credibility of Trump’s lawyer. That could be bad news as the trial progresses because if a judge doesn’t trust the defense counsel it can sway the case against the defendant.

New York Case Gets Under Way

On April 15, the New York Supreme Court opened Trump’s trial on 34 charges of falsifying business records. The jury was selected by April 18, and opening statements began on April 22. One of the first issues that came up was whether or not Trump had violated a gag order imposed during pretrial.

Back in May 2023, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which filed the charges Trump is facing, asked acting New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan to impose a gag order on Trump. Prosecutors argued there was a risk of Trump publicly attacking people involved in the case. Merchan resisted these calls at first, but on March 26 he did impose a gag order on the former president. Three days later he expanded it, following social media posts by Trump criticizing Merchan and his daughter. On April 22, the judge discussed those posts with Trump’s attorney, David Blanche. It didn’t go well.

In an April 23 hearing on the alleged violations, prosecutors claimed Trump had made ten separate violations of the gag order and called for the maximum $1,000 fine for each of them. Blanche responded that Trump was being “very careful to comply” with the order — despite having publicly slammed Merchan for imposing it, and the judge’s daughter over an anti-Trump social media post made by someone impersonating her.

When Merchan questioned Blanche over the posts, he became visibly frustrated, telling the lawyer “I am asking a question… and I’m not getting an answer.” Then, when Blanche insisted Trump was trying to comply with the order, Merchan exploded, “Mr. Blanche, you’re losing all credibility.”

While this hearing doesn’t deal with the actual charges against Trump, it could still be damaging to his case. Merchan will make many of the key decisions that affect the outcome of the trial. If he doesn’t trust Trump’s defense team, that may influence the decisions he makes. Worse, the jury won’t miss the judge’s hostility — and that could affect their decision, too. If Blanche can’t rebuild relations with Merchan, it could cause Trump unnecessary problems.

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