The judge in Trump's case in Washington rejects the recusal requested by the former president | International
Judge Tanya Chutkan will continue to handle the case in which Donald Trump is prosecuted in Washington for his attempts to alter the electoral result in the 2020 presidential elections. In a resolution issued this Wednesday, Chutkan rejects the challenge raised by the former president's lawyers , who accused her of having a bias against the accused. The judge assures that Trump has not demonstrated that it is “impossible” for him to handle the case impartially.
Trump's lawyers alleged that it was tainted by statements he made in different hearings related to the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. In one, Chutkan told a defendant sentenced to more than five years in prison that he had pointed out “very correctly ” that the “people who exhorted him” and encouraged him to “take action and fight” had not been charged. Chutkan added that she “didn't make decisions about who to charge” and had “no influence over it.” “I have opinions, but they are not relevant,” she added. According to Trump's lawyers, these statements showed prejudice against the former president.
The judge indicates in her 20-page resolution that the Supreme Court has established a very demanding doctrine for challenges and abstentions in which it requires that impartiality be impossible in order to have to deviate from a case. “The statements certainly do not manifest a deep-seated prejudice that would make a fair trial impossible—the standard for recusal based on statements of intrajudicial origin,” she says.
"To begin with, it should be noted that the court has never taken the position that the defense attributes to it: that 'former President Trump must be prosecuted and imprisoned.' And the defense does not cite any case in which the court has uttered those words or anything similar. Instead, the defense interprets the court's verbal reiteration of Palmer and Priola's arguments [dos de los sentenciados por ella] about his relative guilt as 'suggesting' a secret 'central opinion' about the accused's criminality,” he adds.
The judge explains the context of those statements. “Both defendants requested a lesser sentence, alleging that their guilt for the January 6 assault was less than that of other people whom they considered instigators of the attack, so it would be unfair for them to receive a full sentence while those other people were not prosecuted. . The court was legally obliged not only to privately consider those arguments, but also to publicly assess them,” she states.
Special prosecutor Jack Smith had opposed the recusal of the judge, appointed to the position by former President Barack Obama, pointing out that the comments on which the request by Trump's lawyers was based were taken out of context to try to show a false bias against the former president.
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Chutkan set August as the date for the start of the trial on March 4, 2024, the eve of Super Tuesday, the key day in the primary elections for the presidential elections that year. If the schedule is met, it would be the first criminal trial held against Trump.
The judge imposed some limits on Trump's statements in mid-August, but they have not helped the former president to restrain himself. He continues to make inflammatory statements and post messages on Truth, his social network, about the cases in which he is accused, including the one in Washington. Prosecutors believe he has embarked on a campaign of misinformation and harassment against prosecutors, witnesses and potential jurors and asked two weeks ago for “a narrow and well-defined restriction” that would prohibit Trump from making statements “about the identity, testimony or credibility of possible witnesses.”
They also asked to prevent him from making “statements about any party, witness, attorney, court staff or potential jurors that are derogatory and inflammatory, or intimidating.” Trump's lawyers oppose this measure, citing his freedom of expression. The judge has not yet ruled.
In his charge sheet, the prosecutor accuses Trump of four crimes: conspiracy to defraud the US Government, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction or attempted obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to violate civil rights. Trump maintains that the elections were stolen from him, but the prosecutor does not accuse him of this great baseless hoax, but rather of the acts he undertook to alter the result and prevent the proclamation of Joe Biden's victory.
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