Trump Demands Recusal of Obama-Appointed Judge In Jan. 6 Case

Trump Demands Recusal of Obama-Appointed Judge In Jan. 6 Case
Former President Donald Trump looks on during the Alabama Republican Party’s 2023 Summer meeting at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel in Montgomery, Ala., on Aug. 4, 2023. (Julie Bennett/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump has called for the recusal of the judge assigned to his Jan. 6 case in which he is accused of multiple felonies in connection with his challenges to the 2020 presidential election.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, a former assistant public defender who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama, has been assigned to preside over Mr. Trump’s case.

In that case, Mr. Trump has been charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding—the certification of the electoral vote—and conspiracy against the rights of citizens.

Mr. Trump maintains his innocence and has pleaded not guilty.

Ms. Chutkan on Saturday issued an unfavorable ruling against Mr. Trump, giving his legal team a shorter-than-requested time to respond to a proposal by prosecutors for the judge to issue a protective order limiting what information Mr. Trump can share publicly about the case.

Apparently in response to the unfavorable ruling by Ms. Chutkan, the former president on Sunday took to social media to demand her recusal.

“There is no way I can get a fair trial with the judge ‘assigned’ to the ridiculous freedom of speech/fair elections case,” Mr. Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social.

“Everybody knows this, and so does she! We will be immediately asking for a recusal of this judge on very powerful grounds, and likewise for venue change, out [of] D.C.”

As regards his remark about a venue change, Mr. Trump has previously raised concerns about not being able to get a fair trial in Washington.

Mr. Trump, who is the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 presidential election, has repeatedly characterized the numerous investigations against him as election interference meant to thwart his bid for the White House.

After being assigned to the case, Ms. Chutkan made headlines for having issued tough sentences in cases relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol. Reports indicate that of her 31 Capitol breach cases, she issued tougher penalties than prosecutors recommended in nine cases.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in an undated photo. (Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts via AP)

Extra Response Time Denied

On Aug. 4, special counsel Jack Smith asked Ms. Chutkan to issue a protective order in light of a social media post by the former president.

Mr. Smith’s request was in reference to an Aug. 4 Truth Social post by Mr. Trump, which stated, “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!”

Following the post, Mr. Smith urged Ms. Chutkan to “enter a protective order governing or restricting discovery or inspection” of case details, to restrict what Mr. Trump can share publicly about the case and evidence.

“Such a restriction is particularly important in this case because the defendant has previously issued public statements on social media regarding witnesses, judges, attorneys, and others associated with legal matters pending against him,” argued Mr. Smith in a filing (pdf), citing the Truth Social post.

“If the defendant were to begin issuing public posts using details—or, for example, grand jury transcripts—obtained in discovery here, it could have a harmful chilling effect on witnesses or adversely affect the fair administration of justice in this case,” Mr. Smith said, adding that such posts may influence jurors.

A spokesperson for Mr. Trump responded to the filing by suggesting that the post was not a retaliation against Mr. Smith’s charges.

“The Truth post cited is the definition of political speech, and was in response to the RINO, China-loving, dishonest special interest groups and Super PACs, like the ones funded by the Koch brothers and the Club for No Growth,” said the brief statement.

On Aug. 5, Ms. Chutkan gave Mr. Trump’s attorneys an Aug. 7 deadline to respond to Mr. Smith’s request, rejecting a bid by the former president’s lawyers for an extension until Aug. 10 to submit a response.

They had requested until Aug. 10 to ensure “adequate time to prepare a fulsome response,” adding that the issue, if given time, could be resolved “without court intervention.”

“Requiring a Monday response to a Friday evening motion likewise forecloses the possibility of agreement and would encourage such improper tactics by the government in the future,” Mr. Trump’s attorneys had said in the filing.

In a quick counter, Mr. Smith’s team asked the judge to maintain the Aug. 7 deadline, calling the extension request an “unnecessary delay.”

Mr. Trump’s legal team now has the option to either accept the protective order proposal or submit a counter by 5 p.m. on Aug. 7.

Elsewhere, Mr. Trump shared with Republicans at a fundraising event in South Carolina late on Aug. 5 his thoughts on the indictments against him this year.

“Every time the radical left Democrats do this and the Marxist, Communist, fascists indict me, I consider it a great badge of honor, because I’m being indicted for you,” Mr. Trump said at the event.

Mimi Ngyuen-Ly contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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