Donald Trump Asks Judge Tanya Chutkan To Recuse Herself From January 6 Case

 September 12, 2023

On Monday, filing a motion, former President Donald Trump’s attorneys have asked U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan to recuse herself from overseeing his case. This is the federal case against him, over his alleged role in the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Chutkan, is known to hand out some of the harshest sentences for January 6 defendants. Trump’s legal team cited the “inherently disqualifying” statements she made while handling the cases. During Christine Priola’s October 2022 sentencing, Chutkan described the Capitol riot as “an attempt to violently overthrow the government, the legally, lawfully, peacefully elected government by individuals who were mad that their guy lost”

She also claimed, that those inside the Capitol did so out of “blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.” In Christine Priola’s sentencing statement Chutkan wrote-

“I see the videotapes. I see the footage of the flags and the signs that people were carrying and the hats they were wearing and the garb. And the 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. It’s a blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.”

-U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan

Trump’s attorneys argued –

“The public meaning of this statement is inescapable—President Trump is free, but should not be,”… “As an apparent prejudgment of guilt, these comments are disqualifying standing alone.”

-Trump Attorney Filings

Similarly, Chutkan said that January 6, defendant Robert Palmer-

“didn’t like the result, and he didn’t want the transition of power to take place because his guy lost,” during his 2021 sentencing hearing.…“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 and encouraged you and rallied you to go and take action and to fight have not been charged,”

-U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan

Trump’s attorneys further wrote-

“In making these statements, Judge Chutkan agreed with portions of defendant Palmer’s sentencing memorandum, which similarly (and wrongly) placed blame on President Trump and complained that he had not been charged,”

-Trump Attorney Filings

Reportedly, Chutkan will ultimately be the one to decide if she recuses herself from this case. If she does recuse herself, the case would be randomly assigned to another judge in the same court. Time will tell.

It's extremely damaging to a fair trial to have people reaching judgment about the case in the newspapers and on the radio before the facts are heard in a case.”

-Bill James
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