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How Media Outlets Are Covering Justice Merchan in Trump’s Criminal Trial

Conservative media has been preoccupied for weeks with Justice Juan M. Merchan, the New York judge presiding over the Manhattan criminal trial against former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Trump has long attacked Justice Merchan and his family in social media posts and on his campaign website. But Justice Merchan did not earn a starring role in conservative media until after he issued a formal gag order against the former president, forbidding attacks against various people involved in the trial, including jurors and witnesses.

Since then, right-wing commentators, most prominently on Fox News, have condemned the judge nearly daily in their coverage of the trial. They have painted Justice Merchan’s rulings as biased, decried small donations he made to Democrats in 2020 and suggested that his connection to his daughter, a Democratic political consultant, made him unfit to oversee the case.

Liberal outlets have focused less on Justice Merchan, instead centering their coverage of the trial on the charges against Mr. Trump and the figures in his orbit. But some smaller outlets have praised Justice Merchan for clamping down on Mr. Trump.

Here’s how it has played out:

FROM THE RIGHT

Breitbart

In addition to covering the trial as straight news, Breitbart has devoted significant attention to what Republicans see as Justice Merchan’s pro-Democratic bias.

Justice Merchan donated $35 to groups that supported Democrats during the 2020 election, including $10 to a group called “Stop Republicans.” That, along with his daughter’s role as a consultant for Democratic candidates, has prompted Mr. Trump to call on the judge to recuse himself. (A state ethics panel last year dismissed a complaint against Justice Merchan with a warning over his donations. Justice Merchan has denied any wrongdoing.)

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