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Trump family’s extraordinary move against NY judge

Trump speaks at Mar-A-Lago after NY arraignment

The Trump family has been accused of targeting the daughter of the judge overseeing the former US president’s hush money case, an extraordinary show of defiance after Donald Trump’s arraignment.

Mr Trumps sons Donald junior and Eric sparked outrage on Tuesday (US time) after sharing a link to an article by right-wing website Breitbart that prominently featured an image of Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter.

Breitbart said the judge’s daughter worked for US Vice President Kamala Harris’ campaign in 2019 and headed a digital agency that runs campaigns for progressive candidates, including the Biden-Harris campaign.

“Seems relevant… yet another connection in this hand picked democrat show trial. The BS never ends, folks,” Mr Trump Jr. wrote, also quoting the title of the article: ‘Daughter of judge on Trump case worked on Biden-Harris campaign’.

His brother has since deleted his tweet. But Eric Trump reportedly complained that “They are all hand-picked. It is all pre-arranged. This corruption is on a different level”.

The links were widedly shared by prominent Trump supporters, including Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene.

It came after Judge Merchan warned Mr Trump not to say anything that might be contempt ahead of his looming defence on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

As Mr Trump appeared in his Manhattan courtroom to enter a plea of not guilty on Tuesday (local time), Judge Merchan told both sides to urge clients and witnesses to watch their behaviour.

“Please refrain from making comments or engaging in conduct that has the potential to incite violence, create civil unrest, or jeopardise the safety or well-being of any individuals,” he said.

But Mr Trump has already defied the judge’s orders, with an all-caps spray on Truth Social, accusing Judge Merchan of being “highly partisan” from a family of “well known Trump haters”.

Addressing cheering fans at Mar-a-Lago after pleading not guilty in Manhattan, Mr Trump took further aim at the judge and the prosecutor in his case.

He said Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, was “a local failed district charging a former president of the United States for the first time in history on a basis that every single pundit and legal analyst said there is no case”.

“Last week he delayed for a month, and then immediately took that back and threw this ridiculous indictment together,” he said.

“Came out today, everybody said this is not really an indictment. There’s nothing here.”

Before Tuesday’s hearing, Mr Trump had posted a fake image of him swinging a baseball bat at Mr Bragg’s head. He has also previously called Mr Bragg an “animal” on his Truth Social platform.

Don junior’s posts came as prosecutors raised concerns during Tuesday’s 45-minute hearing that Mr Trump’s “threatening” social media posts could affect jurors or witnesses.

Democrat representative Cori Bush blasted the posts about Judge Merchan’s daughter.

“Make no mistake, Donald Trump is trying to prevent the legal system from pursuing accountability by inciting violence and spreading misinformation,” he said.

He was backed up by prominent Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“Because nothing says ‘innocent’ like threatening a judge’s family,” she tweeted.

“Let’s be very clear: Intimidation and stochastic terror are the core tools of Trump and the fascist movements that support him. They rely on it to skirt consequence and silence others – and each time it works, they grow more brazen. One reason why accountability is so important.”

CNN anchor John King also slammed what he said were efforts to threaten and put at risk Judge Merchan’s family.

“It is not relevant. It is not relevant. She’s an individual adult, but…this is the game they play. It’s not a game. This is how they play. They try to intimidate, they attack, and they put at risk people who should not be dragged into this process,” he said.

“Donald Trump is presumed innocent – if he can beat these charges, good for him. The judge’s daughter has nothing to do with this, but this is what they do. This is how they have so taken this country off the rails and outside the norm.”

In his wide-ranging speech in Florida, Mr Trump rehashed old grievances – including his debunked claims of a “stolen” election.

But he clearly also had his sights on other potential legal trouble he might soon face in other states. He used the speech to unleash on law enforcement officials in Georgia and Washington, D.C.

There was a particular focus on special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating Mr Trump’s efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election, accusing Mr Smith of “threatening” Trump allies with jail time to force them to cooperate with his inquiry.

“We have this Jack Smith lunatic threatening people every single day through his representatives,” Mr Trump said.

“They’re threatening jail terms. But talk about Trump and you’ll go free.”

“That’s the country in which we live in, however, right now.”

-with AAP

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