Dershowitz: 'I've never seen a spectacle' like 'tyrant' Judge Merchan

 May 22, 2024

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

Juan Merchan, the judge hearing New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg's "hush money" case against President Donald Trump, has called a recess until after Memorial Day.

Testimony wrapped up this week, and closing arguments are scheduled following the holiday.

But the fight over misdemeanor "bookkeeping" counts that Bragg now has alleged are felonies against Trump continues to be in the headlines, largely because of Merchan's extraordinary behavior. It is one of multiple lawfare cases brought by Democrats against Trump in an apparent scheme to derail his 2024 presidential race.

Merchan's behavior was cited by legal expert and longtime commentator Alan Dershowitz after Merchan openly feuded with a witness, ordered the courtroom cleared, and essentially blew his stack during the proceedings.

report at Fox News said Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus, "called out" Merchan for "outrageous" rulings against Trump.

He told "The Brian Kilmeade Show" host Brian Kilmeade that Merchan is a "tyrant" for threatening to strike the testimony of defense witness Bob Costello, who expressed disbelief at some of Merchan's anti-Trump rulings.

Dershowitz charged, "I've been in courthouses in every part of the world and China, in Russia, in Ukraine, in Israel. I've been all over. I've never seen a spectacle like this. And that's why it should have been on television, so the American public could see how outrageous this judge is. And CNN just does his bidding. CNN lies, lies through their teeth about what happened in court yesterday between Judge Merchan and Bob Costello. Bob Costello testifies, Merchan rules against him at every point, keeps out his testimony, and makes outrageous rulings that any first-year student taking evidence would know was wrong."

He continued, "And Bob Costello does what I did: He rolled his eyes. And I rolled my eyes, I said, I couldn't believe the judge was making these rulings. And the judge, thinking he's a tyrant, clears the courtroom, and throws out everybody from the media. For some reason, they allowed me to stay, and I watched as the judge berated him. And the judge said something I have never seen in a courtroom in my history, 60 years. He threatened to strike the testimony of the main witness for the defendant because of the punishment of the witness for staring at the judge. Can you imagine the violation of the Sixth Amendment? The Sixth Amendment allows any defendant to confront witnesses and to present evidence in his defense. Can you imagine if this judge had struck the testimony of Bob Costello? It would result in an automatic mistrial, a new trial, and a verdict against the prosecution. The judge was bluffing. He ought to be disciplined for making that threat because the threat was an idle threat. He didn't act on it. …":

Dershowitz pointed out that American law doesn't allow a judge to just throw out a witness's testimony to punish a defendant.

"And we didn't see it because television is not allowed in the courtroom. … They just won't allow the American public to watch this trial, and I don't blame them. If I were the judge, I would never want this trial to be on television because he's behaved so outrageously," he said.

report in the Daily Mail described Merchan's outburst as "unhinged."

In a column there, Dershowitz described, "The stench of deceit hung in the air as I sat in the front row of a Manhattan courtroom. Seated on the witness stand, no more than a few feet from me, I watched in disbelief as Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen told the jury one seeming lie after another."

"When asked by prosecutors on Monday whether he would financially benefit if Trump were convicted of falsifying business records to hide an alleged hush money payment to protect his 2016 presidential campaign, Cohen denied it. That is demonstrably false," he said.

"Cohen is shopping around a reality TV show to capitalize on his newfound fame. He has admitted to making more than $3 million on anti-Trump books and podcasts and sells merchandise portraying the former president behind bars. All of these enterprises would be undermined by a Trump acquittal."

Then, he added, "There is Cohen's confession that he stole tens of thousands of dollars from the Trump Organizations by deceitfully overcharging for his services."

He said during the trial, he had not seen "any evidence" that Trump committed a crime.

"Never in my 60 years of practicing law and teaching and writing about the U.S. legal system have I seen such a weak criminal fraud case," he said. "Whether a jury of 12 New Yorkers will believe Cohen, a fabulist and admitted thief, is impossible to tell. But there is no doubt in my mind that the judge in this trial should not allow it to continue.

"Instead, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan should throw it out of court – and rule that Cohen's testimony is so unreliable that the jury should not even consider it."

He opined that the judge won't do that, however, because of his "palpable bias" against Trump.

Then, Dershowitz wrote, that Merchan "revealed his apparent unhinged prejudice against Trump when he exploded after Costello, a lawyer himself, expressed his surprise over the mystifying rulings."

He explained he was in the courtroom at the time and wasn't asked to leave, so he stayed.

"I wish that the public could have seen what I witnessed – because I believe the judge's bias against Trump came through loud and clear. 'Do you raise your eyebrows at me?' Merchan shouted at Costello. 'Did you stare at me?'" he explained.

"He sounded like … a nut on the street. A psycho in the film Taxi Driver."

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