New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan has made a series of decisions in the hush money trial of former President Donald Trump that have reportedly helped prosecutors, according to legal experts. The most significant decision was allowing “the trial of the century” to proceed.

There is broad agreement that initiating a trial over business records fraud, a state misdemeanor elevated to a felony for allegedly covering up an unidentified federal campaign finance violation or other crime, is beyond Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s jurisdiction. According to John Yoo, a University of California, Berkeley professor and former Justice Department official, a federal campaign finance crime, if warranted, should be prosecuted by federal authorities, not a local prosecutor, the Washington Times reported.

“The most important decision that Judge Merchan made was his failure to reject the D.A.’s backdoor effort to enforce federal election law, which is unconstitutional,” he said. “If Merchan had reached the proper conclusion, he would have dismissed the entire indictment and the case would never have gone to trial.”

Former federal prosecutor Joseph Moreno agreed with Yoo, the Times reported. “Every significant legal and evidentiary ruling that Judge Merchan made in this case was to the advantage of the prosecution, starting with the very premise of the case,” he said.


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He said Bragg’s “bare-bones indictment” listed 34 felony charges but did not specify the crime Trump was allegedly concealing. Bragg only presented a “vague theory” that Trump’s accounting entries were made to hide federal and state crimes.

“But without any specifics as to how these laws were supposedly violated (or intended to be violated), this case should have failed as deficient under the Fifth Amendment’s due process right of an accused to be adequately informed so that a defense may be prepared,” Moreno said in an emailed statement to the Times.

Most recently, Judge Merchan decided on jury instructions that could determine the verdict. The instructions require a unanimous finding that Trump falsified business records to commit or conceal another crime. However, jurors do not need to agree on what that other crime was, the Times reported.

Trump expressed frustration at the instructions in a Truth Social post last week. “This Judge, whose conflicts are completely disqualifying, isn’t even requiring a unanimous decision by the jury on key portions of this Criminal Hoax, which is UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND UNAMERICAN,” he wrote.

Jurors will return to the courtroom for closing arguments on Tuesday and may soon begin deliberations. They will decide whether, for the first time in the nation’s history, a former president will be convicted of a crime.

Per the Times, here are more pro-prosecution rulings:

• Allowing Ms. Daniels to testify without boundaries. The judge allowed her to detail in a graphic detail her alleged sexual encounter with Mr. Trump. The judge later denied a defense motion for a mistrial over the testimony, saying the defense should have objected during the witness’s testimony.

• Judge Merchan imposed strict limits on the testimony of a former federal elections commissioner in defense of Mr. Trump, prompting the former president’s legal team not to call the witness. The defense wanted expert testimony about whether a nondisclosure agreement would constitute a campaign finance violation.

• The judge’s gag order prohibiting Mr. Trump from commenting about witnesses was another pro-prosecution move. It allowed his former lawyer and key state witness Michael Cohen, his former lawyer, and Ms. Daniels to repeatedly bash him during the proceedings without a response from Mr. Trump.


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