Trump reiterates request for Judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse herself from his D.C. Jan. 6 case

01:06 18.09.2023 - CBS News, Scott MacFarlane

Former President Donald Trump's defense team filed papers Sunday night in further support of his request that Judge Tanya Chutkan recuse herself in the federal 2020 election conspiracy case case brought by special counsel Jack Smith in Washington, D.C. In doing so, Trump lawyers met the Sunday deadline set by Chutkan to formally respond to Smith's opposition to the request.

Smith, in a filing Friday, argued that Chutkan should remain on the case.

Trump's lawyers again argued that Chutkan has made disqualifying statements critical of Trump during her handling of the sentencing of two Jan. 6 defendants.

In their latest argument, submitted in D.C. federal court, Trump's defense argued, "These proceedings are indeed historic. The public interest is not in the perception of a rush to judgment or a show trial contaminated by the appearance of a partial presiding judge..."

Trump's attorneys have requested Chutkan's recusal in the former president's election interference case based on previous statements she made in two separate Capitol riot sentencing hearings. They highlighted her comment to one Capitol riot defendant in October 2022 that the violent attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden's election came from "blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day."

They argued that this statement suggests "an apparent prejudgment of guilt."

But government attorneys denied this was the case and said Judge Chutkan's remarks were "factually accurate" and "responsive to arguments presented to the court."

The Trump attorneys also referred to a statement Chutkan made in a hearing about Trump White House records in late-2021, in which she said "A president is not king"... and that Trump "is not President." Trump's defense argued that, "The public must have confidence that President Trump's constitutional rights are being protected by an unbiased judicial officer. No president is a king, but every president is a (US) citizen entitled to the protections and rights guaranteed by the US Constitution."

Trump's lawyers are also seeking a formal hearing on this matter.

Ultimately, it is up to Chutkan to decide whether her past statements create the perception of bias. A new judge would be assigned to the case if she recuses. Trump's attorneys could petition an appeals court to require her to recuse, but such efforts are often not successful. There is no specific timetable for Judge Chutkan to rule on Trump's request.

Scott MacFarlane

Scott MacFarlane is a congressional correspondent for CBS News, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms.


/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 1:06 AM /

themes:  Joe Biden  Donald Trump  Washington

Special counsel Jack Smith argues Judge Tanya Chutkan shouldn't recuse herself in Trump case

Washington - Special counsel Jack Smith filed a blistering motion in response to former President Donald Trump's request that the judge overseeing his federal 2020 election interference criminal case recuse herself.

"There is no valid basis, under the relevant law and facts, for the Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, to disqualify herself in this proceeding," Smith wrote in a 20-page filing an hour before a deadline set by Chutkan to respond.

Smith argued Trump hasn't proven Chutkan made biased claims.

"To mount a successful recusal claim based on the cited statements, the defendant must show that they display a deep-seated animosity toward him," his motion said. "The defendant cannot meet this heavy burden."

"Because the defendant cannot point to any statements expressing actual bias, all he can say-and he says it repeatedly-is that the Court's comments 'suggest' some sort of bias or prejudice toward the defendant," Smith added.

Trump's lawyers argued in a filing Monday that Chutkan should remove herself from the case because of previous statements she made while sentencing defendants who were convicted in the Capitol riot.

"Judge Chutkan has, in connection with other cases, suggested that President Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned," Trump's lawyers wrote in their request. "Such statements, made before this case began and without due process, are inherently disqualifying."


"The public meaning of this statement is inescapable - President Trump is free, but should not be," Trump's attorneys wrote.


Trump will be able to respond to Smith's counterargument, and his deadline to do so is next week.

Special counsel Jack Smith argues Judge Tanya Chutkan shouldn't recuse herself in Trump case

In a dramatic turn of events, Special Counsel Jack Smith has requested that former President Donald Trump be limited in his public statements regarding the case against him for alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Smith accuses Trump of making "inflammatory public statements" with the intention of influencing potential jurors and intimidating witnesses. This request comes after a series of posts made by Trump on his Truth Social platform since his indictment in August.

In a 24-page filing submitted on Friday, Smith and his team of prosecutors presented a list of Trump's posts on Truth Social, stating that the former president had been spreading disparaging and inflammatory content on a near-daily basis. They argue that Trump is aware of his ability to incite threats and harassment against his targets through his posts. To counteract this, the government lawyers have asked Judge Tanya Chutkan to impose a "narrowly tailored" order that would prevent Trump from making extrajudicial statements that could materially prejudice the case.

The prosecutors assert that Trump's repeated claims of not receiving a fair trial from the court or a jury of his peers in the District of Columbia are likely to undermine confidence in the justice system and influence the jury pool. They argue that his misleading statements regarding the Special Counsel's Office and its investigation serve the same purpose. Additionally, they accuse Trump of targeting specific witnesses in an attempt to influence public opinion before the trial even begins.

Donald Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury on four charges related to his alleged attempts to reverse the 2020 election results. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges. The motion filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith seeks to limit Trump's public statements to prevent further damage to the justice system and potential interference with the ongoing trial.

In response to Trump's request for Judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse herself from the case, Special Counsel Jack Smith has filed a forceful motion arguing that there is no valid basis for her disqualification. Smith's 20-page filing, submitted just an hour before the deadline set by Chutkan, states that Trump has not provided sufficient evidence of biased claims made by the judge.

Smith's motion emphasizes that for a recusal claim to be successful, Trump must show that Chutkan displayed deep-seated animosity towards him, which he has failed to do. According to Smith, Trump's repeated assertions that the judge's comments suggest bias or prejudice are insufficient to meet the burden of proof. The Special Counsel firmly states that Trump cannot point to any statements expressing actual bias from Chutkan.

Trump's legal team argued in a filing on Monday that Chutkan should recuse herself due to previous statements she made while sentencing defendants involved in the Capitol riot. They allege that Chutkan had suggested President Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned, and that such statements are inherently disqualifying. ..... 

Ultimately, the decision to recuse herself lies with Judge Tanya Chutkan. ..... Trump will have the opportunity to respond to Smith's counterarguments, with his deadline set for next week. The case continues to unfold, with both sides presenting their arguments before the court.

Trump criticizes special counsel's request for gag order in election case

Former President Donald Trump is facing backlash after attacking special counsel Jack Smith following the unsealing of the prosecutor's request for a gag order in the government's 2020 election interference case against him. Trump took to his new social media platform, Truth Social, to express his frustration, referring to Smith as deranged and accusing him of weaponizing the DOJ and FBI to go after political opponents.

Smith, in response, accused Trump of spreading knowingly false accusations and baseless claims about US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is handling the proceedings, in an attempt to influence potential jurors and witnesses. Smith argued that Trump's public statements were not only undermining the integrity of the proceedings but also prejudicing the jury pool.

The prosecutor's 19-page gag-order request included numerous posts made by Trump on Truth Social since his indictment in August on charges of conspiracy to defraud the US government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. Trump's posts referred to Judge Chutkan as a "fraud dressed up as a judge" and a "biased, Trump-hating judge."

Smith also highlighted a post in which Trump complained about not being able to get a fair trial in Washington, DC, calling it "filthy and crime-ridden" and "over 95% anti-Trump." He argued that Trump's disparaging and inflammatory posts on Truth Social had been a near-daily occurrence since the indictment.

Federal prosecutors have now requested a "narrowly tailored" gag order on Trump, citing his incessant social media attacks on individuals involved in the case. They expressed concern that some of the people targeted by Trump had subsequently received threats from others. The prosecutors' motion brought attention to the issue of the former president's online statements and their potential to undermine public confidence in the judicial system.

The request has been made to Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who herself has been the subject of Trump's verbal assaults. At a previous hearing, Judge Chutkan warned Trump's lawyers about making remarks that could intimidate witnesses or prejudice potential jurors. However, Trump continued to post messages on his social media platform that amplified criticism of Judge Chutkan.

The request for a gag order is seen as an attempt to protect the integrity of the proceedings and prevent further undermining of public confidence in the judicial system. The case against Trump highlights the broader issue of how public figures' social media presence can impact legal proceedings and the potential consequences of their statements on witnesses and jurors.

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