Trump keeps criticizing judges, including the one overseeing his initial criminal trial starting on Monday.Robin Rayne/ZUMA

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With less than 24 hours remaining until his first criminal trial commences, Donald Trump is engaging in what can be predicted: criticizing the judge in charge of the case.

In a statement on Truth Social, Trump suggested that Judge Juan Merchan could be considered the “most conflicted Judge in the history of New York State” and expressed dissatisfaction with a “False Biden Trial.”

According to my colleague David Corn’s report, Trump’s initial criminal trial – one of the four criminal cases he is facing – starts tomorrow in New York City and focuses on his falsification of business records linked to the alleged hush money payment he made to silence porn star Stormy Daniels regarding their reported affair. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the accusations and denied the relationship. This will mark the first instance of a US president going through a criminal trial.

Trump’s legal team has unsuccessfully tried to disqualify the judge from the case, citing among other reasons, the $35 worth of donations Merchan supposedly contributed to Democratic causes during the 2020 election cycle, including $15 to Biden.

Judge Merchan initially imposed a gag order in March preventing Trump from making public comments about potential trial witnesses; he later expanded it on April 1 to prohibit Trump from discussing the families of the judge and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg—but Trump is still allowed to critique both individuals, as per reports from the Associated Press. The order also bars Trump from making any statements that could be perceived as harassment towards court personnel, jurors, the prosecution team, or their families.

“The existing threat to the integrity of the judicial proceedings is no longer just a possibility or a reasonable likelihood. The threat is very real,” mentioned Merchan when he expanded the gag order earlier this month. “Cautions are insufficient, as is dependence on self-restraint.”

This was further emphasized yesterday when Trump also criticized his former lawyer Michael Cohen in another post on Truth Social. Cohen is anticipated to be a crucial witness for the prosecution. This critique of Cohen could violate Merchan’s initial gag order. (There was no immediate response from a spokesperson for the New York State Unified Court System on Sunday afternoon when asked to clarify this issue.)

During an appearance on MSNBC on Saturday, Cohen expressed feeling “stressed, nervous” ahead of the trial, stating, “the assaults are ceaseless since that is his modus operandi. He attacks the judge, he attacks the judge’s daughter, he attacks witnesses, he attacks all and sundry.

For Trump, criticizing the individuals overseeing his cases has turned into a routine that has elicited reprimands from judges and gag orders in New York City and Washington, DC cases, as was detailed by my colleague Russ Choma last year. Trump’s persistent criticisms of judges and prosecutors might also have contributed to the escalation of threats to federal judges and prosecutors by over two-fold since the 2020 election, as I previously reported in February.

And this behavior is unlikely to lessen anytime soon: Trump is expected to make appearances in courtrooms across the nation this year for several other trials, including cases related to Trump’s alleged endeavors to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and his improper retention of classified documents.

So, fasten your seatbelts for 2024. Brace yourself for more of this: