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Federal Judge Faces Misconduct Case For Criticizing Trump

A federal judge appeared on CNN to speak out against threats to the judiciary and respond to attacks former President Trump has leveled against the daughter of the judge presiding over his New York criminal case. Senior U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton of Washington, D.C., was asked about attacks Trump had leveled on social media against Justice Juan Merchan, Reuters reports. "Well, it's very disconcerting to have someone making comments about a judge," Walton said. "And it's particularly problematic when those comments are in the form of a threat, especially if they're directed at one's family." Trump has attacked Merchan and his daughter ahead of his April 15 criminal trial on charges related to hush money paid to the porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump called Merchan's daughter a "Rabid Trump Hater" on his social media platform Truth Social that was posted two days after Merchan issued a gag order barring Trump from publicly commenting about witnesses and court staff.

That order did not cover the judge and his family. Still, Walton said he was worried posts like Trump's could "resonate with others." He said, "I think it's very important that people in positions of authority be very circumspect in reference to the things that they say so that they're not causing others to act on what they say and maybe cause injury or death to someone as a result of that." Walton said he himself had received threats after presiding over several cases arising from the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 by supporters of Trump seeking to overturn his electoral loss to President Biden. Walton's comments prompted criticism from Trump's supporters. "Dear Judge Reggie Walton: Lawyer up," Mike Davis of the conservative legal group Article III Project, wrote on X. "A judicial misconduct complaint is definitely coming your way." The basis for such a complaint was not clear. The Code of Conduct requires judges to uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary and refrain from extrajudicial activities that detract from the dignity of the judge’s office.


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