Trump trial, who is Judge Merchan: the ‘tough guy’ from Colombia

Aged 60, he has already convicted the Trump Organization of tax fraud

“He hates me!”. As Donald Trump he said of Juan Merchan, the New York Supreme Court judge, who as of today presides over his trial in the Stormy Daniels case. In fact, it is not the first time that Trump has met the judge in his journey, born 60 years ago in Colombia and emigrated to New York at the age of 6 where he was the first in the family to go to university, working to be able to pay his Education.

Merchan in recent months has convicted Allen Weisselberg, a friend of Trump and CFO of his company, in a trial for tax fraud of the Trump Organization. And he presided over the trial of another close friend and adviser to the former president, Steven Bannon, accused of defrauding the many who had contributed money to his fund to finance the Trump Wall.

Described by those who know him as “tough” but fair, before being appointed a judge in 2006 by then Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg, Merchan began his legal career in 1994 as a prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Seven years later he moved to the New York Attorney General’s office.

The Trump case was entrusted to him as part of the rotation with which judges are assigned to grand juries and the trials that result from their decisions. He has followed several cases of financial crimes, but he is also appreciated for his commitment to the creation of the Manhattan Mental Health Court, in which defendants with mental health problems are given the possibility to undergo care and treatment, with supervision, instead of serve sentences.