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Donald Trump files motion to remove Judge Chutkan from his case citing ‘bias’

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Former US President Donald Trump makes a fist while reacting to applause after speaking at the North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina on June 5, 2021. — Reuters

The four-time criminally indicted former US President Donald Trump filed a motion through his lawyers Monday which maintained that District Judge Tanya Chutkan should be removed from his case as her past statements show clear bias against the 77-year-old Republican forerunner.

Judge Chutkan is set to preside over the case regarding Donald Trump’s involvement in subverting 2020 election results and the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill riots. 

Donald Trump maintained in his filings that US District Judge Chutkan should step aside because of “past statements she has made about [Donald Trump] that demonstrate bias.”

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan. — Administrative Office of the US/File
US District Judge Tanya Chutkan. — Administrative Office of the US/File

“Judge Chutkan has, in connection with other cases, suggested that President Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned,” the 77-year-old’s attorneys said.

“Such statements, made before this case began and without due process, are inherently disqualifying.”

The lawyers of the former president also stated that “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.”

According to the experts on the legal matters, the unusual recusal motion was unlikely to succeed because it is Chutkan herself who would have to voluntarily agree to step aside.

Chutkan last month set March 4, 2024, for the start of Trump’s trial on charges of conspiring to subvert the results of the 2020 presidential election he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump, who is also bidding once again for the White House in 2024 against Joe Biden, pleaded not guilty to the charges in a court appearance in Washington last month.

In the motion seeking Chutkan’s recusal, Trump’s attorneys cited statements the judge has made at sentencing hearings for participants in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by the billionaire Trump supporters.

At the October 2022 sentencing of a woman for her role in the assault on a joint session of Congress, Chutkan described January 6 as “nothing less than an attempt to violently overthrow the government.”

She added, in an apparent reference to Trump, that it was inspired by “blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day.”

“Her comments suggest that she reached a conclusion, before this case, that President Trump is more deserving of a term of imprisonment than the defendant she was sentencing,” Trump’s attorneys said.

“Judge Chutkan should recuse herself from this case and direct the Clerk to randomly assign this matter to another District Judge,” they added.

Donald Trump calls her ‘Unfair’

Trump has also publicly complained about the judge, calling her “highly partisan” and “very biased and unfair” in comments on his Truth Social platform.

The 61-year-old Judge, who was appointed by former Democratic president Barack Obama, has handed down some of the stiffest sentences to participants in the attack on the US Capitol.

Chutkan also has a legal history with Trump — she ruled against him in a November 2021 case, notably declaring that “presidents are not kings.”

Trump is also facing racketeering charges in Georgia for allegedly conspiring to upend the election results in the southern state and a trial in Florida in May 2024 on charges of mishandling top secret government documents.

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