(VitalNews.org) – Former President Donald Trump’s legal team filed a motion to disqualify U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Monday from presiding over one of Trump’s criminal cases in which the former president is being charged with attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Last month, Trump said he would seek the recusal of Chutkan along with a request to change the venue for the criminal case against him.
In the Monday court filing, Trump’s legal team cited a remark made by Chutkan in 2022 at a sentencing hearing for a Jan. 6 defendant being charged for the Capitol riot in 2021. Chutkan suggested that the defendant’s motivation for partaking in the riot came from “blind loyalty to one person who… remains free to this day,” referring to Trump. His lawyers are now arguing that the remark implied that Chutkan already believes the former president “should be prosecuted” and locked up.
U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith charged Trump with four felonies alleging a plot to overturn the 2020 election results, which is one of four criminal indictments against Trump this year as he campaigns for the 2024 GOP nomination. The indictment in Washington D.C. doesn’t charge Trump specifically for the Capitol attack but argues that the incident was exploited by him to try and delay the certification by Congress of President Joe Biden’s victory.
The filing states that although the judge “may genuinely intend” to give a fair trial to Trump, and “may believe” in her ability to do so, these statements made in public “taint” the proceedings “unavoidably,” no matter what the outcome is.
A trial date for the case was set by Chutkan for March 2024 in defiance of Trump’s objections to have it pushed back to 2026. Chutkan also warned the former president in August about trying to influence any potential witnesses.
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