The Office of the Special Counsel Jack Smith has argued in a motion that there is “no valid basis” for Judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse herself afterward Donald Trump‘s legal team argued that she should drop the case because of the statements she made in condemning the Jan. 6 rioters.
“There is no valid basis under the relevant law and facts for the Honorable Tanya S. Chutkan, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, to disqualify herself from this proceeding,” the special counsel’s office said wrote in a 20-page filing on Thursday. “In his motion (ECF No. 50) seeking recusal, defendant takes the court’s words from prior litigation out of context and misrepresents the proper legal standards for recusals.”
The special counsel added that Mr. Trump “found nothing that even comes close to providing the clear and convincing evidence required to overcome the presumption of impartiality.”
The office argued that Mr. Trump “used innuendo and innuendo to suggest something sinister to the court, merely doing its job by addressing the sentencing arguments.”
The former president’s legal team argued that Judge Chutkan should throw out the case because of statements she made while sentencing defendants for participating in the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021.
The former president’s lawyers argued that Judge Chutkan approved “parts” of a Jan. 6 sentencing memorandum for one of the defendants who “falsely accused President Trump and complained that he had not been indicted.”
Defense counsel for the defendant referred to in the motion said in a sentencing memorandum that “these voices, including the voice of the then-President himself, had convinced individuals like Mr. Palmer that the election was fraudulent and that they must take action. “ to stop the presidential transition. . . . While many of the people who took part in the Capitol riots will go to prison, the perpetrators of this terrible event will likely never be charged with a crime.”
The Trump lawyers added: “Although Judge Chutkan correctly noted that she has no influence over charging decisions, she said in her … comments, ‘You made a very good point.'” . . that the people who exhorted you and encouraged you and called on you to go and act and fight were not charged” and “You are right that the people who may have planned and financed and promoted this are finding refuge. ‘ “has not been charged, but that is not a reason for you to get a lesser sentence,” reflects her apparent opinion that President Trump’s conduct…took place and supports the charges.”
“Otherwise she would not have rated the item as ‘very good,’” they said.
“Judge Chutkan’s statement that ‘I have my opinion’ suggests that in her view – formulated nearly two years before this matter began – President Trump should be impeached,” the Trump legal team added.
After that filing, Judge Chutkan ordered the prosecution, Mr. Smith’s legal team, to file all rebuttal arguments within three days – a response made in Thursday’s filing.
The motion from Mr. Trump’s legal team seeking the judge’s recusal came Monday after she set the trial date for March 4 next year. Mr. Trump has pleaded not guilty to four counts in the indictment that lays out the case against him for trying to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Trump’s attorney, John Lauro, argued in his motion that even if Judge Chutkan believes she can give Mr. Trump a fair trial, “the public will reasonably and understandably question whether Judge Chutkan has made all of her decisions in this matter impartially.” .
“The law and the overwhelming public interest in the integrity of this historic proceeding require a rejection,” he wrote.
Judge Chutkan gave Mr. Trump’s legal team until Sunday to respond to the filing from the special counsel’s office.
If she rejects the Trump team’s request, they could ask the U.S. Court of Appeals to disqualify her.