Senator JD Vance calls for a criminal investigation into Judge Merchan for 'possible conspiracy'

The Ohio Republican, who is on the former president's final list of options to be his running mate in November, sent his request to the Department of Justice.

JD Vance requested a criminal investigation into Judge Juan Merchan, who is leading Donald Trump's case on the payment to Stormy Daniels in Manhattan. The Republican senator wrote a letter to Merrick Garland, attorney general of the Biden administration, alleging that the judge's conduct during the trial "could amount to a criminal deprivation of rights under the statutes. 18 USC §§ 241–42."

Within hours of the oral arguments in Trump's trial in Manhattan ending, Vance sent the letter against the judge directly to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

"President Trump has the right to a fair trial by an impartial jury, Merchan has done everything possible to deprive Trump of both"

The letter relied primarily on restricting the former president's speech about the ongoing trial, the admission and exclusion of evidence, and a "possible conspiracy" involving prosecutors in Alvin Bragg's office.

"Merchan has not been content to deprive President Trump of only his First Amendment rights, either. As a criminal defendant, President Trump is entitled to a fair trial by an impartial jury. Merchan has done his best to deprive Trump of both. (...) When it comes to the admission and exclusion of evidence, Merchan has been just as shameless. He has bent over backwards to allow the prosecution to introduce whatever evidence it wants, e.g., by allowing a prosecution witness to testify at length about the alleged details of an unproven sexual episode with no relevance to the underlying charges. But he has taken a strong hand against defense evidence at every opportunity," the senator wrote in the letter.

"As for a possible conspiracy under Section 241, there are many likely coconspirators to consider. For one, Merchan’s daughter Loren seems to be an obvious beneficiary of Merchan’s biased rulings. She works as a fundraiser for Democratic officials and organizations, and she helped her clients raise $93 million from donors during Trump’s trial in New York, partly by invoking the case and smearing the defendant in solicitation emails. (...) Prosecutors in the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg—from Christopher Conroy to Matthew Colangelo to Bragg himself—have also shown themselves to be plausible coconspirators. After all, they have repeatedly urged Merchan to deprive President Trump of his First Amendment rights in court filings and oral advocacy. One can only wonder what sort of ex parte communications might have led Merchan to so enthusiastically embrace a prior restraint on speech that he would have known to be repugnant to the Constitution," Vance added.

The legal arguments for the request for an investigation against Merchan

The aforementioned statutes refer to conspiracy against rights (241) and the deprivation of rights under the guise of law (242).

"18 U.S.C. § 241 criminalizes conspiracies to “injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate” others from enjoying their federally protected rights, while 18 U.S.C. § 242 prohibits any person acting under color of law from depriving individuals of their rights under the Constitution and federal law, including officials acting “within” and “beyond” the bounds of their lawful authority. U.S. Supreme Court precedent expressly declares that improper conduct of judges is subject to prosecution under statute," Vance's team explained in a statement.