Former President Donald Trump’s legal team on Monday filed a motion seeking the recusal of Judge Tanya Chutkan, asserting that her prior statements suggest a bias against the former president.
Specifically, the ex-commander-in-chief’s attorneys asserted that prior statements she made that they saw “create a perception of prejudgment incompatible with our justice system,” CBS reported. “Judge Chutkan has, in connection with other cases, suggested that President Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned. Such statements, made before this case began and without due process, are inherently disqualifying.”
Chutkan is presiding over the case involving special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecution of Trump in connection with his efforts to challenge the 2020 presidential election results. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The judge has previously overseen the trials of numerous Jan. 6 defendants and referenced Trump’s status as a free man on numerous occasions. Trump’s attorneys specifically pointed to an October 2022 statement in which she categorized the events of January 6 as “nothing less than an attempt to violently overthrow the government, the legally, lawfully, peacefully elected government, by individuals who were mad that their guy lost.”
“[I]t’s blind loyalty to one person who, by the way, remains free to this day,” she added at the time.
In a December 2021 hearing, she told one defendant that “[t]he people who exhorted you and encouraged you and rallied you to go and take action and to fight have not been charged.”
Chutkan has discretion in choosing whether to recuse herself. Should she opt against a recusal, Trump may petition the appeals court to order that she recuse herself.