A federal judge, appointed during the Obama administration, has dismissed a motion from former President Donald Trump calling for her recusal from a case concerning Trump’s challenge to the 2020 election results.
United States District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan issued a 20-page opinion denying the motion.
Trump’s attorneys pointed to statements she made while sentencing two defendants connected to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. Special counsel Jack Smith had previously secured a four-count indictment of Trump relating to his efforts to contest the 2020 election results.
“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,” Chutkan said during a sentencing hearing for Christine Priola.
“The issue of who has or has not been charged is not before me,” she said while sentencing Robert Scott Palmer, another defendant from the riot. “I don’t have any influence on that. I have my opinions, but they are not relevant.”
In her ruling, Chutkan directly addressed and denied the claims of bias.
“The court has never taken the position the defense ascribes to it: that former ‘President Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned,’” Chutkan wrote in her opinion.
The motion for recusal was part of a series of legal strategies employed by Trump’s team. Trump had attacked the veteran jurist and demanded recusal within days of his August 1 indictment for obstructing the 2020 election. Despite these efforts, his arguments have been repeatedly rejected by federal judges.
The ruling on the recusal motion argued that Trump’s legal team took Judge Chutkan’s words out of context. Chutkan herself noted that motions for recusal could be wrongfully deployed as a form of ‘judge shopping.’
The recent denial of this latest motion for recusal is a significant setback for Trump, adding fuel to the fire of the former president’s legal troubles.
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