Former President Donald Trump on Monday criticized the federal judge who will hear his trial on charges that he illegally tried to remain in power after his 2020 election loss, asking him to recuse himself from the case.
Lawyers for the 77-year-old former president argued that U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan made “disqualifying” statements while presiding over the trials of people who entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Lawyers say Chutkan’s comments will “taint” the proceedings against Trump.
“Judge Chutkan, in connection with other cases, has suggested that President Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned. “Such statements, made before the beginning of this case and without due process, are inherently disqualifying,” reads the recusal appeal of the former commander in chief.
“While Judge Chutkan may truly intend to give President Trump a fair trial (and may believe she can), her public statements inevitably taint these proceedings, regardless of the outcome,” the document continues. “The public will reasonably and understandably question whether Judge Chutkan made all of her decisions in this matter impartially or in compliance with her prior negative statements about President Trump.”
Trump’s lawyers maintain that several of Chutkan’s statements disqualify her from presiding over the former president’s trial.REUTERS
Chutkan has sentenced dozens of convicted Capitol rioters. AFP via Getty Images
Trump’s lawyers cited Chutkan’s comments during the October 2022 sentencing of convicted Capitol rioter Christine Priola, accusing the judge of implying that the former president should be behind bars for his actions on the day of the riot.
“[T]The people who stormed that Capitol were there out of loyalty, out of loyalty, to a man, not to the Constitution, which most people before me seem woefully ignorant of; not to the ideals of this country; and not to the principles of democracy. “It is a blind loyalty to a person who, by the way, remains free to this day,” Chutkan said.
The filing also points to a statement made by Chutkan in December 2021, during a hearing of Robert Palmer, who stormed the Capitol and attacked police officers on January 6, 2021, arguing that he was referring to Trump.
“And it is true, Mr. Palmer – you have made a very good point, one that has been made before – that the people who exhorted you, encouraged you and mobilized you to act and fight have not been charged,” Chutkan said.
Trump previously criticized Chutkan for being “biased and unfair.”
Chutkan has sentenced dozens of people convicted on charges related to the Capitol riot, and their sentences have been some of the harshest handed down.
Trump has previously mocked Chutkan, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, calling him “VERY BIASED AND UNFAIR.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a Trump ally, announced last month that he will introduce a resolution to censure, condemn and investigate the 61-year-old Jamaican-born judge, accusing her of engaging in “partisan commentary.” inside and outside the court that she “calls into question her fitness as a judge.”
Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office has proposed a trial date for Trump of Jan. 2, 2024, in the 2020 election fraud case.
The former president and front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary faces four felony charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and human rights conspiracy.