When Donald Trump enters the New York City Hall on Tuesday, he faces a seasoned judge who is a stranger to the former president’s orbit.
Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan has sentenced New York State Attorney Allen Weisselberg to prison for close associates of Trump, the president of the Trump United Tax Fraud Trial and the hated former adviser Steve Bannon on a criminal fraud case.
But Trump’s historic impeachment on Tuesday will likely be the most high-profile commercial case to date, even after a long run above the state’s trial level.
Merchan has been described by observers as a “tough” judge, and yet he is fair to whoever is in front of him.
Here is what you need to know.
The accusation that Trump is going to be a show with the appearance of law enforcement and with the former president is already igniting a flame on social media with his opinion about Merchan and his accusation.
But in court, Merchan doesn’t stand for arguments or delays, attorneys who appeared before him told CNN, and has been known to maintain control of his courtroom even when his cases are notable.
“Judge Merchan was efficient, practical, and listened carefully to what I had to say,” Nicholas Gravante, the attorney who represented Weisselberg in his case, said via email.
“He was insightful into significant judicial trends, which helped me significantly in giving Mr. Weisselberg more informed legal advice. Judge Merchan was always ready, willing, and – especially in the case of Weisselberga – a man of his word. He treated me and my colleagues with the utmost respect both in public and behind closed doors.
Karen Friedman Agnifilo, a private practice attorney who previously served as an assistant chief district attorney for the Manhattan District Attorney, overseeing Merchan’s cases, echoed that sentiment.
“[Merchan] He does not allow accusers or defendants to raise any questions in his forum. It does not allow it to take place in the middle of a circus or any other kind of circus. I don’t think Donald Trump is attacking him, and threatening him will do him well in court,” said Agnifilo.
“The judge is the type of judge where he ignores it and doesn’t hold it against Donald Trump. He doesn’t claim that in any way.
Merchan showed some tough side when Weisselberg was sentenced, telling the former Trump ally that if he had already promised him a five-month sentence, he would have handed him a “much bigger” sentence after hearing the evidence at trial.
Since Bannon’s criminal fraud presides, Merchan has chastised the former Trump aide for delaying his new team of attorneys in the case when he requested more time to review new evidence.
In addition to the Trump cases, Merchan has also presided over other high-profile cases, including the “sick mom madam” trial, in which she posted a $2 million bond against suburban mom Anna Gristina, who was charged with running up a $2,000 bond. -hour obedience to the wealthy; Bloomberg News reported.
Merchan, a Senegalese man who kidnapped and killed his girlfriend, was also handed a 25-year-to-life sentence.
Trump’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, said in an interview with CNN on Friday that Merchan was “not easy” on himself when he tried the case before him, but echoed that the judge is likely to be fair.
“I tried in front of his case before. It could be tough. I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be something that’s going to change his ability to evaluate the facts and the laws in this case,” said Parlatore.
But Merchan is also credited by his peers with the Manhattan Mental Health Court, which he often presides over, and where he has earned a reputation for “mercy,” rules that give defendants second chances.
“I was watching my colleague try to send a case where someone got shot, so she could try the most serious violent crimes and then switch,” said Brendan Tracy, a criminal defense attorney who previously worked as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. District Attorney
“Maybe someone who was a shopkeeper and then was charged with grand larceny and had mental health treatment in court because he had mental issues, he was able to handle a wide range of cases and do everything well,” Tracy added.
Still, Earl Ward, a trial attorney and chair of the public defender for the nonprofit The Bronx Defenders, said he watched Merchan preside over cases in Mental Court, a judge often sided with prosecutors.
“It is fair and the law is consistent with the law, but if a relative is called, the report is that he is partially guilty,” Ward said.
He launched his merchan law career in 1994 He started as an assistant attorney in the district trial division of the Manhattan District Attorney. A few years later he moved to the state attorney general’s office, where he handled cases on Long Island.
In 2006, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg, then a Republican, appointed Merchant to the Family Court in the Bronx, and a Democrat Gov. David Paterson appointed He took him to the New York State Court of Appeals in 2009, the same year he began serving as a New York Supreme Court judge.
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Merchan immigrated to the United States at the age of 6 and grew up in New York City’s Queens Heights neighborhood; according to a New York Times profile judge He was the first in his family to go to college.
Merchan initially studied business at Baruch College in New York before dropping out of school to work only to return several years later to finish school so he could get his law degree.the times reported.
He eventually received his law degree from Hofstra University.