DOJ Rejects Trump’s Call For Federal Judge’s Recusal

The judge assigned to preside over former President Donald Trump’s federal indictment related to his actions after the 2020 election has faced mounting accusations that she cannot be an impartial arbiter of justice.

Not only has U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan handed down particularly hefty sentences for previous defendants related to the Jan. 6, 2021, protest on Capitol Hill, but she has expressed an apparent prejudice against Trump from the bench in some of those cases.

For example, she sided with one such defendant who said that the “people who exhorted” protesters to “take action and to fight” — apparently a reference to Trump — had not been charged. She told the defendant that he “made a very good point.”

As a result of her prior remarks, Trump’s legal team filed a motion to force Chutkan to recuse herself from the case.

“Judge Chutkan has, in connection with other cases, suggested that President Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned,” read the motion filed earlier this week.

Trump’s attorneys went on to assert that the judge’s remarks were “made before this case began and without due process,” arguing that they “inherently” disqualify her from providing the former president with a fair trial.

“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 the outcome,” the motion concluded.

Despite this evidence, the Department of Justice, via special counsel Jack Smith’s office, filed a motion of its own to throw out the call for Chutkan’s recusal.

Prosecutors argued: “Although the defendant tries to claim otherwise, the Court’s statements about which he complains are core intrajudicial statements — statements that the Court made while performing its official duties, in direct response to the arguments before it, and which were derived from knowledge and experience the Court gained on the bench.”

Any successful call for recusal must show that a judge has “a deep-seated animosity” toward the defendant, they added, claiming that Trump’s attorneys had failed to “meet this heavy burden.”

The motion filed on Thursday concluded that there is “no valid basis” for Chutkan to be replaced.

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