Who is the judge handling Trump’s criminal charges?

When Donald Trump steps into the New York courtroom on Tuesday, he will face a seasoned judge who is no stranger to the former president’s trajectory.

Acting New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Mercan sentenced to prison Allen Weisselberg, a trusted Trump confidant, presiding over the Trump Organization’s tax fraud trial and overseeing the former’s criminal fraud case. mentor Steve Bannon.

But Trump’s historic impeachment on Tuesday will probably be Mercan’s most high-profile case to date, even after a long stint at the top of state court.

Mercan has been described by observers as a “tough” judge, but a fair one, regardless of who stands before him.

Here’s what you need to know.


Trump’s impeachment will likely be a spectacle with law enforcement showing off and with the former president fanning the flames on social media with his views on Mercan and the indictment. his.

But in court, Mercan is not advocating interruptions or delays, attorneys who have appeared before him tell CNN, and he has a reputation for maintaining control of his courtroom even when the court’s orders are closed. His case attracted considerable attention.

Nicholas Gravante, the attorney who represented Weisselberg in his defense, said by email: “Judge Mercan was efficient, factual and listened carefully to what I had to say.

“He has clearly demonstrated his judicial inclinations, which has greatly helped me in providing well-informed legal advice to Mr. Weisselberg. Judge Mercan is always well prepared and approachable. approach and — most importantly in the Weisselberg matter — was a man of word.He treated me and my colleagues with the utmost respect, both in public and behind closed doors. private.”

Karen Friedman Agnifilo, a private practice attorney who previously worked as an assistant district attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, overseeing cases that Mercan presided over, echoed that view.

“[Merchan] don’t let prosecutors or defendants create any problems in their courtrooms. He doesn’t let a media circus or any other kind of circus take place. I don’t think Donald Trump attacking and threatening him will bode well for him in the courtroom,” Agnifilo said.

“The judge is the kind of judge that he will ignore and not go against Donald Trump. He has no intention of taking revenge in any way like that.”


Mercan showed some of his tough side when Weisselberg was convicted, telling a former Trump associate that if he didn’t promise him a five-month sentence, he would give him a sentence. “much higher” after hearing evidence at trial.

In presiding over Bannon’s criminal fraud case, Mercan chastised the former Trump aide’s new team of lawyers for delaying the case when they asked for more time to consider new evidence.

In addition to the Trump lawsuits, Mercan has also presided over other high-profile cases, including the “football mom” trial in which he placed a $2 million settlement on the suburban mother. Anna Gristina, who was accused of running a $2,000 case. -Hourly escort service for the wealthy, Bloomberg News reports.

Mercan also handed sentences ranging from 25 years to life in prison for a Senegalese man who raped and murdered his girlfriend.

Trump’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, said in an interview Friday on CNN that Mercan “did not go easy” on him as he tried a case in front of him, but reiterated that the judge has would be fair.

“I once tried a case in front of him. He can be tough. I don’t think it’s necessarily something that will change his ability to judge the truth and the law in school. this case,” Parlatore said.

However, Mercan is also credited by his colleagues for helping to found the Manhattan Court of Mental Health, where he often presides and where he is known for his “benevolent” judgments for patients. report second chance.

“I watched a colleague of mine try a shooting in which someone was shot, so I,” said Brendan Tracy, a criminal defense attorney who previously served as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. he can try those very serious violent crimes and then switch.” District Attorney’s Office.

Tracy added: “Maybe someone who has been a mass thief and then has been charged with grand theft and is going to court for mental health treatment because they have a mental health problem, he has a mental health problem. can handle many cases and handle them fairly.”

However, Earl Ward, trial attorney and president of the public defender nonprofit The Bronx Defenders, said that after witnessing Merchan preside over cases at the Mental Health Court, the judge Judges often sided with prosecutors.

Ward said: “He is fair and his rulings are in line with the law, but if it is a close call, his reputation is that he will side with the prosecution.


Mercan began her legal career in 1994 when she began working as an assistant district attorney in the adjudication division at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. A few years later, he moved to the state attorney general’s office, where he worked on Long Island cases.

In 2006, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then a Republican, appointed Mercan to the Bronx Family Court, and Democratic Governor David Paterson appointed him to the New State Court of Appeals. York in 2009, the same year he began serving as an actor. New York Supreme Court Judge.

Born in Bogota, Colombia, Mercan immigrated to the United States at the age of 6 and grew up in the Jackson Heights, Queens neighborhood of New York City, according to New York Times judge records. He was the first in his family to go to college.

Mercan initially studied business at Baruch College in New York before dropping out to work and returning a few years later to complete his studies for a law degree, the Times reported.

He eventually received his law degree from Hofstra University.

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