Trump challenges judge's impartiality in federal election case

16:59 11.09.2023

Former President Donald Trump's attorneys are seeking a new judge in his 2020 election interference case, arguing that Judge Tanya Chutkan should recuse herself due to statements they claim show bias. While they didn't directly accuse Chutkan of being biased against Trump, they highlighted her previous comments that they believe "create a perception of prejudgment incompatible with our justice system." Trump's attorneys emphasized that Chutkan has suggested in other cases that Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned without due process, which they argue is disqualifying.

In the case, filed by special counsel Jack Smith, Trump is charged with four felony counts related to an alleged scheme to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power after losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The filing from Trump's attorneys focuses on instances during hearings related to defendants in Jan. 6 riot cases where they claim Chutkan appeared critical of the former president. They specifically reference a statement Chutkan made during an October 2022 hearing, where she described the riot as an attempt to violently overthrow the government by individuals who were upset about losing.

Trump's attorneys argue that Chutkan's statement suggests a prejudgment of guilt and claim that the public interpretation is that Trump should not be free despite his current freedom. They also highlight Chutkan's statement during the sentencing hearing of rioter Robert Palmer, where she criticized the fact that those who encouraged the attack had not been charged. According to Trump's attorneys, these past statements indicate bias and should lead to Chutkan's recusal from the case.

The decision regarding recusal ultimately lies with Chutkan. If she agrees with Trump's attorneys, a new judge will be assigned to the case. However, if she disagrees, she will continue to preside over the matter. If the recusal is denied, Trump's attorneys may petition an appeals court for a writ of mandamus, which would require Chutkan to recuse herself. However, such efforts are rarely successful.

Trump's lawyers argue that any appearance of bias or prejudgment is particularly important in a high-profile case like this. They stress the need for the public to have utmost confidence that the court will administer justice neutrally and dispassionately. Trump has entered not guilty pleas in four criminal cases this year, all related to allegations spanning his presidency. His attorneys have also sought the recusal of the judge in a case in New York State court, but that effort was rejected.

Despite the ongoing legal battles, Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing in connection with the charges he faces.

/ Monday, September 11, 2023, 4:59 PM /

themes:  Joe Biden  Donald Trump  New York (state)

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