I’ll ask election judge to step aside-Trump

Source: BBC

Donald Trump has said he will ask the judge in his alleged election fraud case to step aside on what he called “very powerful grounds”.

He claimed that “there is no way I can get a fair trial” unless he has a different judge.

His call came after the prosecution requested a court order that would limit what he can publicly say about the case.

The judge, Tanya Chutkan, was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, on Sunday morning, describing the case as “the ridiculous freedom of speech/fair elections case” and saying that his legal team would immediately be asking for recusal of the judge.

He gave no details of his grounds for asking her to step down.

Judge Chutkan, appointed in 2014, previously ruled against Mr Trump’s efforts to shield evidence from the House January 6 Committee.

The 61-year-old judge has won a reputation for harsh sentences for those convicted of participation in the riots. According to Associated Press news agency she is one of the toughest punishers.

Under US federal law, any judge of the United States must disqualify themselves in any proceeding in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned.

Recusal of the judge was not the only thing Mr Trump said he would request. He also said he wanted a “venue change” and for his case to be moved out of Washington.

He previously said there would be “no way I can get a fair trial, or even close to a fair trial, in Washington”, which he describes as “anti-Trump”, and has previously described the Department of Justice as “highly partisan and very corrupt”.

Mr Trump’s lawyer, John Lauro, said on Sunday that the former president “believed in his heart of hearts” that he had won the 2020 election – and that prosecutors will not be able to prove that Mr Trump did not believe this.

Speaking to US TV networks, Mr Lauro said Mr Trump was being attacked for exercising his constitutional First Amendment right to free speech.

Earlier this week, Mr Trump wrote in capital letters, “If you go after me, I am coming after you!” on Truth Social, just a day after he pleaded not guilty to four charges in the alleged election fraud case.

And the same night, the prosecutors said they feared there was a chance Mr Trump might disclose confidential evidence and asked for a protective order to prevent “the improper dissemination or use of discovery materials, including to the public”.

Judge Chutkan gave Mr Trump’s legal team until 17:00 local time on Monday to respond to the submission. Mr Trump’s lawyers asked for three more days, but the judge denied their request.

Judge Chutkan is expected to call in attorneys from both sides on 28 August to discuss setting a trial date.

The charges – which include conspiracy to defraud the US and conspiracy against the rights of citizens – stem from the former president’s actions in the wake of the 2020 election.

Mr Trump now faces five upcoming trials – three criminal trials which include his alleged mishandling of classified documents, accounting fraud and these election charges; and two civil trials over business practices and alleged defamation of a woman who accused him of rape.

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