New York Daily News: The Manhattan judge presiding over Donald Trump’s hush money case has received dozens of death threats and other harassing calls and emails amid the historic indictment of the former president.
Phone numbers and email addresses associated with State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan, who has been attacked by Trump on social media and in public remarks, have been flooded with hate mail in the weeks since Trump learned of his pending indictment, a source with direct knowledge told the Daily News.
The content of the calls, emails and letters was described as harassing and defamatory, with most of the trolls calling from out of state, the source said.
Lucian Chalfen, chief spokesman for the state Office of Court Administration, said New York’s halls of justice continue to operate at heightened security.
“We continue to evaluate and reevaluate security concerns and potential threats. We have maintained an increased security presence in and around courthouses and throughout the judiciary and will adjust protocols as necessary,” Chalfen said.
The threats started before Trump was indicted on 34 felony counts related to business fraud and have continued in the days since his unprecedented surrender and arraignment before Judge Merchan in court. Hours after appearing in Manhattan, Trump made a speech in Florida during which he singled out the judge and referenced his wife and daughter, alleging their involvement in an unfounded Democrat conspiracy.
Much of Trump’s arraignment was dedicated to discussing prosecutors’ concerns that his incendiary rhetoric about the case and the authorities involved could put the public at risk.
At the hearing, prosecutors presented a series of provocative posts Trump has made recently about officials involved in the case, including against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the grand jurors who chose to indict Trump. They asked Merchan to issue a protective order prohibiting Trump from sharing evidence in the case online.
“[Speak] to your client and anybody else you need to, and remind them to please refrain — please refrain — from making statements that are likely to incite violence or civil unrest,” Merchan told Trump’s lawyers in court.
Legal experts interviewed by The News said Trump’s words could result in a gag order if the judge deems them a threat to public safety, noting Merchan made it clear it’s the last thing he wants to do.
Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina on Thursday said the threats to Merchan were “appalling and we condemn anyone participating in such behavior.”
The News reported last week that Bragg was subjected to a deluge of racist hate mail and death threats before and after Trump’s indictment. The threats have since continued, according to a senior adviser to Bragg who spoke with The News Thursday.
State and federal law enforcement agencies have stepped up security measures for the officials involved in the case and the court facilities. Upon learning of his pending arrest, Trump threatened “death and destruction” and “World War III” would follow. Two bogus bomb threats and a hoax white powder scare at the Manhattan DA’s offices followed the incendiary posts.
NBC first reported about Merchan receiving death threats.
Trump is criminally accused of falsifying business records in a “catch and kill” scheme to bury negative stories ahead of the 2016 presidential election, violating election laws. Bragg says the former president disguised his crime of paying porn star Stormy Daniels into silence about an alleged 2006 extramarital encounter, going to “great lengths” to hide reimbursement to Michael Cohen, his ex-lawyer who issued the payment and the case’s star witness.
In laying out a pattern of payments Trump allegedly made to bury negative information before the election, Bragg’s office cited the payment to Daniels, another to Playboy model Karen McDougal, and another to a Trump Tower doorman. Trump denies all allegations.
Top Feature Photo: Judge Juan Merchan is pictured in 2015 – Marc A Hermann/for New York Daily News