Donald Trump wants the federal judge in DC presiding over his 2020 election subversion case to recuse herself.
In a recusal motion filed Monday, the former president’s lawyers take aim at U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, a former assistant public defender who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama.
Trump’s lawyers argued that Chutkan has made statements in the past that call into question whether she can be impartial.
In their filing, they pointed to Chutkan having previously suggested that Trump “should be prosecuted and imprisoned.”
“Such statements, made before this case began and without due process, are inherently disqualifying,” the motion states. “Although Judge Chutkan may genuinely intend to give President Trump a fair trial – and may believe that she can do so – her public statements unavoidably taint these proceedings, regardless of outcome.”
It added: “The public will reasonably and understandably question whether Judge Chutkan arrived at all of her decisions in this matter impartially, or in fulfillment of her prior negative statements regarding President Trump.”
Chutkan has stood out as one of the toughest punishers of Jan. 6 defendants. She has often handed down prison in Jan. 6 cases that are harsher than Justice Department prosecutors recommended. The judge also previously ruled against Trump in a separate Jan. 6 case. In November 2021, she refused his request to block the release of documents to the U.S. House’s Jan. 6 committee by asserting executive privilege.