Former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz criticized Judge Juan Merchan’s “biased” rulings on Monday. He discussed the reported exchange between the presiding judge and witness Bob Costello that occurred after the media was excluded from the courtroom.

Alan Dershowitz appeared on “Hannity” to discuss the ongoing trial of former President Donald Trump, who faces 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records. Dershowitz joined a group supporting Trump in the courtroom. Reports from the day described a tense atmosphere between Robert Costello, a former attorney for the prosecution’s key witness, Michael Cohen, and Judge Juan Merchan. Costello allegedly muttered comments under his breath and rolled his eyes, behavior that reportedly led  Merchan to expel the media from the courtroom and even threaten to remove Costello, warning Trump’s attorneys of the potential action.

Fox host Sean Hannity asked Dershowitz about the unusual exchange he witnessed, as he was able to remain while the media was asked to leave, questioning if he had ever seen anything like it before.

“No, I never have. I sat in the front row, literally just feet away from where all the action occurred. I rolled my eyes when the judge made some rulings that were absurd. Any first-year evidence student would understand that he was making biased rulings in favor of one side,” Dershowitz said.

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“I stared him down, but Costello didn’t — he acted like a normal witness and the judge went berserk. The judge violated Trump’s constitutional right to a public trial by kicking the media out of the courtroom, I don’t know why I wasn’t kicked out. I heard him [Merchan] lecture Costello, ‘What you did was contemptuous, you looked at me contemptuously,’” Dershowitz added.

Dershowitz drew an analogy to a 1940s movie featuring Mae West, in which she portrays a gold-digging singer who, after claiming she was kidnapped by a masked bandit, is tried by a judge and thrown out of town. He also harshly criticized Cohen, accusing him of delivering “lie after lie” and calling the day’s proceedings in the trial an “outrage.”


“It reminded me of Mae West, when a judge said, ‘You’re showing contempt for the court,’ and Mae West said, ‘No, your honor, I’m trying my best to hide my contempt for the court.’ I’m sure Costello was trying to hide his contempt for the court, but the judge had such a thin skin that he threatened him. He said he would strike the testimony and hold him in contempt if he rolled his eyes again. You have a constitutional right to roll your eyes and to stare at anybody. It was absurd,” said the law professor.

“Then to sit so close to Cohen, watching him give lie after lie. Would you believe that he actually said he would not have accepted a pardon from Donald Trump after he had previously said he would do anything to avoid prison. He would –  essentially, he would lie, he would cheat, he would do anything to avoid prison, but ‘I won’t accept the pardon from Donald Trump.’ If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn,” he added.

“There were so many lies and then failure to allow a full testimony from the expert when the other side was allowed to introduce letters, saying…it was illegal, it was illegal, it was illegal — this expert was going to come in and rebut that. This judge has committed more reversible errors in the one day I was in the courtroom than I’ve seen in years and years of practicing law. It’s just an outrage,” Dershowitz stated.

Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.