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Judge in Trump criminal case targeted with threats

Trump vows to fight criminal charges
Trump vows to fight New York criminal charges 06:23

New York judge Juan Merchan has received threats to his safety since he began presiding over the arraignment of former President Donald Trump on Tuesday, according to a law enforcement source.

The NYPD intelligence division is investigating the threats to Merchan, which came in the form of social media posts. 

A spokesperson for New York courts said that "we continue to evaluate and reevaluate security concerns and potential threats." 

"We have maintained an increased security presence in and around courthouses and throughout the judiciary and will adjust protocols as necessary," said spokesperson Lucian Chalfen.

A court sketch shows former President Donald Trump and Judge Juan Merchan, at right, during Trump's arraignment on charges of falsifying business records in New York on April 4, 2023. Jane Rosenberg

Since Trump's arraignment hearing, there has been a marked increase in death threats against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the team of prosecutors working on the Trump case, according to a second law enforcement source.

Threats have landed in Bragg's office by phone, email, and social media post. The source did not specify how many threats the D.A.'s office has received but said the number is significant. 

Court officers and NYPD have increased security for Bragg and his prosecutors and tightened overall security at the Manhattan criminal courthouse. 

The courthouse received bomb threats before and after the indictment, and on Mar. 24 received a threatening note in an envelope with white powder that was later deemed non-hazardous.

During Trump's court appearance Tuesday, a prosecutor gave Merchan a printout of social media posts made by Trump, describing them as "public statements threatening our city, our justice system, our courts, and our office."

Merchan, who was also targeted in a Trump post, asked defense attorneys to ask the former president to "please refrain from making statements that are likely to incite violence or civil unrest."

Trump entered a "not guilty" plea to 34 counts of felony falsification of business records. He has denied all wrongdoing in the case.

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