Former United States President Donald Trump on Monday filed a motion seeking to disqualify federal judge Tanya Chutkan from presiding over the criminal case accusing her of trying to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump said last month that he planned to ask for Chutkan’s denial as well as a change of venue for the case.
Trump argued in a court filing that previous statements by Chutkan that appeared to refer to Trump’s role in influencing the Jan. 6, 2021, at the US Capitol as his supporters raised questions about his impartiality in the case.
The court filing cited a comment Chutkan made at a 2022 sentencing hearing for a Capitol riot defendant that suggested the rioter was motivated by “blind loyalty to someone who, in as, still free until now.” from today”.
Trump’s lawyers argued that the comment indicated the judge’s belief that Trump “should be indicted and imprisoned.”
“Judge Chutkan, in relation to other (past) cases, suggested that the president Trump should be impeached and imprisoned. “Such statements, made before the start of this case and without due process, are in fact disqualifying,” said the former president’s lawyers.
The legal team maintained that, although the judge “may have genuinely intended to give” Trump a “fair trial,” his “public statements will inevitably taint these proceedings, regardless the result.”
Chutkan remained silent during the Capitol attack, calling the violence an attack on American democracy and warning of the future danger of political violence. In October 2022, the judge criticized the accused Christine Priola during her sentencing for offering “blind loyalty to a person who, thus, remains free until now.”
Trump has publicly criticized Chutkan in the past, saying he “obviously wants me behind bars” and that he is “very biased and unfair.” The judge, who was randomly assigned to the case, imposed harsh sentences on the defendants on January 6, which equaled or exceeded the sentences requested by prosecutors.