The New York judge presiding over the criminal case against Donald J. Trump in Manhattan has declined to remove himself from the proceedings, a loss for the former president as he anticipates a potential fourth indictment this week.
Mr. Trump was charged with 34 felonies in March in a case brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, accused Mr. Trump of falsifying records to cover up a hush-money payment to a porn star that was made during the 2016 presidential campaign.
In late May, Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked the judge, Juan M. Merchan, to recuse himself from the case. They argued that he should do so for three reasons.
They noted that, during the 2020 presidential campaign, Justice Merchan had donated $15 to Mr. Trump’s opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., raising the potential appearance of bias.
They also claimed that while presiding over a criminal case against Mr. Trump’s company in 2022, Justice Merchan had encouraged Mr. Trump’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, to cooperate against his former boss.
Finally, they argued that the judge’s daughter, the president and chief operating officer of a digital marketing agency that works with Democratic candidates, stood to benefit financially from decisions Justice Merchan made.
The judge tersely rejected all of those arguments in a decision dated Aug. 11 and released on Monday. The outcome, though widely anticipated, marked more bad news for Mr. Trump, soon after he was indicted by federal prosecutors who accused him of working to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election. It also came at the beginning of a week during which he was expected to be indicted yet again, this time by a state prosecutor in Georgia, on charges stemming from his efforts to disrupt the election results there.
A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, which had opposed the recusal effort, declined to comment, as did one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Susan R. Necheles, who along with Todd Blanche, filed the recusal motion.
Justice Merchan relied in part on the guidance of a state advisory committee on judicial ethics, which he had questioned about the donations and his daughter’s position.
The committee determined that his impartiality could not “reasonably be questioned” based on “de minimus political contributions made more than two years ago” or his daughter’s interests, given that it did not appear that they could be substantially affected by the proceedings.
Following that guidance, Justice Merchan wrote that “the donations at issue are self-evident and require no further clarification.” And regarding his daughter, he wrote that Mr. Trump had “failed to demonstrate that there exists concrete, or even realistic reasons for recusal to be appropriate, much less required” because of his daughter’s job.
He wrote that the arguments pertaining to Mr. Weisselberg duplicated an unsuccessful attempt to push for a recusal during the trial of Mr. Trump’s company and that allegations made by Ms. Necheles were “inaccurate.”
Justice Merchan, a former prosecutor, has experience with Mr. Trump’s legal tactics and those of his associates. Along with presiding over the trial of Mr. Trump’s company last year — which resulted in a conviction on all 17 counts — the judge is also overseeing the case against Steve Bannon, a longtime adviser to Mr. Trump who is accused of having defrauded donors who sought to help construct a southern border wall.
Mr. Trump is scheduled to go to trial in Manhattan in March of next year, though Mr. Bragg, has signaled that he would be open to changing that date if other prosecutors who have brought cases against the former president asked him to do so. In a radio interview last month, the district attorney said that he would not “sit on ceremony” despite having brought the first indictment against Mr. Trump. If “our trial judge is reached out to by another judge, we’ll obviously consider everything in its totality,” he said.
William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.