Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys filed a motion Monday for U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan to recuse herself from overseeing the federal case against him over his alleged role in the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Chutkan, an Obama donor, 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.
Trump seeks to recuse DC Judge Tanya Chutkan –— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) September 11, 2023
Chutkan has suggested "Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned"
These statements "are inherently disqualifying"
For example, 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” during Christine Priola’s October 2022 sentencing.
Chutkan claimed those inside the Capitol did so out of “blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.”
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.
“The public meaning of this statement is inescapable—President Trump is free, but should not be,” Trump’s attorneys argued. “As an apparent prejudgment of guilt, these comments are disqualifying standing alone.”
Trump shared that Chutkan quote to social media and said, “She obviously wants me behind bars,” adding, “VERY BIASED & UNFAIR!”
Similarly, Chutkan said 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,” Chutkan added.
“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’s attorneys wrote.
Ultimately, Chutkan will 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.
The case is United States v. Trump, No. 1:23-cr-257-TSC in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.