Donald Trump’s Legal Team Seeks Recusal of Judge in Election Interference Case

Donald Trump’s legal team made a request on Monday for the judge handling his federal election interference case to step down, alleging a bias against the former president.

They pointed to District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s past comments in cases related to the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack by Trump supporters as evidence of her prejudice and unsuitability to preside over the election interference case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

Chutkan, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, is overseeing the Department of Justice’s case against Trump. This case accuses him of attempting to retain office after losing the 2020 election by orchestrating a criminal conspiracy to hinder the peaceful transfer of power.

Judge Chutkan had previously been involved in cases involving Trump and his supporters. She notably rejected Trump’s attempt in 2021 to prevent records from being handed over to the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

In her ruling, she emphasized, “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not president.” Additionally, she presided over several sentencings of January 6 rioters and strongly criticized those who had incited criminal actions.

In their 25-page motion, Trump’s lawyers cited these instances as proof that Chutkan could not be impartial. They argued that there is “little doubt” that reasonable members of the public may perceive her as having preconceived notions about the case and Trump’s alleged involvement.

They stressed the importance of an entirely impartial judge, especially given the intense political scrutiny of these proceedings.

Ultimately, it is up to Judge Chutkan herself to decide whether to recuse herself from the case. If she chooses not to, Trump’s legal team has the option to appeal her decision. However, it is uncommon for an appellate court to overturn a trial judge’s decision in such situations.

It’s worth noting that Trump has previously sought the removal of judges from cases against him, alleging bias. One example is the “Stormy Daniels” New York criminal case, where his attorneys attempted to disqualify Judge Juan Merchan, claiming bias due to Merchan’s daughter’s political consulting work for Democratic candidates, including President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Merchan rejected that request on August 14th.

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