Federal judge denies Trump recusal motion in 2020 election interference case


Trump had earlier this month asked US District Judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse herself because of comments she made during the sentencing of several convicted rioters from the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Trump had asked to have US District Judge Tanya Chutkan removed from the case in early January based on remarks she made at the sentencing for several convicted rioters of the January 6, 2020 Capitol Riot. Trump requested Chutkan to step aside on September 11 over allegations she had “suggested President Trump be prosecuted or imprisoned”, which Chutkan has vehemently denied. Trump claimed that Chutkan was not a fair and neutral judge as required by federal law. Chutkan, during the sentencing phase–the part of the criminal trial where a convicted defendant is given the punishment for their crimes- for Robert Scott Palmer (who was convicted) and Christine Priola (who was convicted), reflected on the efforts made by the two to blame the former president for their actions. Palmer and Priola hoped to get shorter sentences by doing this. I have no influence over that. Chutkan said, “I have my opinions but they are irrelevant.” She made a similar acknowledgment during Priola’s sentencing in October 2022, referring to Capitol rioters as showing “blind loyalty” to a person who is, by the by, still free today. Chutkan determined that the statements did not meet the legal standard of recusal. She stated that her comments from Palmer and Priola’s sentencing proceedings do not “provide a reasonable base to question the impartiality of the court from the perspective of a fully-informed third-party who understands all relevant facts and has analyzed the record and law.” Chutkan refused to recuse herself because Trump did not meet the legal standard. Trump has already pleaded no contest to the four criminal charges pending against him in this case. The case will be tried on March 4, 2024.