Former president Donald Trump filed a motion Monday asking the judge hearing his 2020 election interference case to recuse herself.
The filing argues that Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee, should recuse herself from the case, alleging she suggested elsewhere that Trump should be “prosecuted and imprisoned.” It cites comments Chutkan made in a case she heard in November 2022 involving a January 6 defendant, as well as a case she heard in December 2021.
“Such statements, made before this case began and without due process, are inherently disqualifying,” the filing notes. “Although Judge Chutkan may genuinely intend to give President Trump a fair trial—and may believe that she can do so—her public statements unavoidably taint these proceedings, regardless of outcome.”
The filing quotes a portion of the sentencing transcript for a case involving Jan. 6 defendant Christine Priola.
“[T]he people who mobbed that Capitol were there in fealty, in loyalty, to one man — not to the Constitution, of which most of the people who come before me seem woefully ignorant; not to the ideals of this country; and not to the principles of democracy,” Chutkan said, according to the court filing. “It’s a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.”
Trump’s lawyers argue the statement’s meaning is “inescapable—President Trump is free, but should not be.”
On another occasion in December 2021, Chutkan told a Jan. 6 defendant “you have made a very good point, one that has been made before — that the people who exhorted you and encouraged you and rallied you to go and take action and to fight have not been charged,” according to the filing.
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