HomeEditor's PickTrump’s Recusal Demand for Judge Chutkan in DC Jan. 6 Case: Drama at the Courthouse?

Trump’s Recusal Demand for Judge Chutkan in DC Jan. 6 Case: Drama at the Courthouse?

On 6 January 2021, President Donald Trump issued a stern demand that U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich recuse herself from presiding over his upcoming trial for his role in the Capitol Riot, claiming that she is biased against him.

The president cited a tweet from Friedrich stating that Trump and his allies must be held accountable “for the death, destruction, and chaos they have caused” as evidence of her bias.

Trump’s demand came in a court filing through his criminal defense lawyers Kathryn Pilcher and Eric Jensen submitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where the trial is scheduled to begin on 8 March.

In the filing, the legal team argued that Friedrich was not impartial, or even remotely unbiased and that her conduct persuasively demonstrated a clear prejudice against the president. They also alleged that the judge made “inappropriate, intemperate, and highly prejudicial statements” about the brick-throwing incident by his supporters.

In their 30-page filing, half of which was devoted to quotations from the judge’s social media posts, Trump’s defense team accused Friedrich of acting in bad faith, sometimes in the presence of the media, in order to curry favor with the public.

The criminal lawyers also pointed out that the judge had recently met with several members of the Democratic National Committee and had not disclosed these meetings in the proceedings. Therefore, Trump’s lawyers argued, the judge’s impartiality must be called into question.

The filing continued to criticize Friedrich’s alleged partiality, stating that her relationships with the media and Democratic Party members would lead the public to doubt her impartiality in court.

Despite the defense team’s allegations, Friedrich is still expected to preside over the 8 March trial. Trump’s lawyers have countered that they will pursue other legal avenues if their request is denied.

This latest legal challenge comes as Trump prepares to face numerous charges related to the Capitol Riot, including inciting insurrection and obstruction of justice. The president denies the charges, and the outcome of this case is likely to shape his legacy for the foreseeable future.

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