Judge Tanya S. Chutkan to Oversee Former President Donald Trump’s Latest Trial

Tanya S. Chutkan
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Former President Donald Trump’s latest trial will be overseen by the appointed American district judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, in a manner that can only be described as unprecedented. Chutkan, who has served as a federal judge since January 6, is no stranger to cases related to the Capitol incident.

Nominated by Obama and having served on the bench for nearly a decade, she quickly established her reputation for handing down some of the toughest sentences to the perpetrators involved in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

In December 2021, Chutkan sentenced a Florida man to what was then the longest sentence – over five years – for providing a tool to extinguish a fire during the riots and throwing it at the police.

It must be made clear that efforts to violently overthrow the government, obstruct peaceful transfers of power, and assault law enforcement officers in those efforts will have dire repercussions, said Chutkan. “.

Being the sole federal judge in Washington, D.C. who has sentenced defendants beyond the recommended guidelines, she remarked during a sentencing hearing on January 6 that the government’s recommendation of home confinement for an individual who breached the Capitol was inadequate.

Handing down a sentence of 45 days in jail, she stated, “Participation in attempting to violently upend the government beyond sitting at home will have consequences.”

Chutkan had also sentenced a resident of Washington, D.C., who had assaulted a Capitol Police officer with a pole last year, to 63 months in federal prison, although the government had requested 60 months.

Another judge will oversee Trump’s trial, where the former president will appear before federal magistrate judge Moxilla Upadhyay.

In 2020, a special counsel led by attorney Jack Smith was convened to investigate attempts to overturn the election. On Tuesday, Trump was indicted by a grand jury and charged with four counts related to conspiring to defraud the United States and obstructing President Biden’s electoral victory.

When Chutkan takes on Trump’s case, it won’t be the first time she’s presiding over a legal battle involving a former president.

On January 6, 2021, she rejected Trump’s request to prevent the House Select Committee from obtaining records from his administration pertaining to the Capitol riot.

In her ruling, she wrote that “the former president does not accept the legitimacy of their decision, based on the presumption that their executive privilege is ‘forever,’ but the president is not a king, and the former president is not a king either.”

The 61-year-old Chutkan was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and studied economics at George Washington University before obtaining a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

After receiving her degree, she worked for three years in private practice before joining the District of Columbia Public Defender Service, where she spent more than ten years as a trial lawyer and supervisor with a focus on homicide, sexual offenses, and domestic violence.

In 2002, Chutkan joined the law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, eventually becoming a partner before being appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In 2014, the Senate confirmed her unanimously with a 95-0 vote.

As a judicial nominee, Chutkan had signed a joint letter in support of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the high court in 2009, worked voluntarily for Obama’s campaign as an attorney in 2012, and volunteered for Walter Mondale’s Democratic presidential campaign in 1984.

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According to Senate questionnaires for judicial nominees, she also made political contributions to Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012 and to Kirsten Gillibrand’s U.S. Senate campaign a year before she was appointed to the federal bench in Indiana in 2008.

Chutkan, a judge, temporarily stopped the Trump administration’s plans to resume federal executions in 2019, averting the deaths of four inmates at an Indiana federal prison.

She also reinstated a rule from the Obama era requiring large companies to report data on employees’ wages based on race and gender, as the Trump administration had blocked efforts to collect that information from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Trump and his allies have criticized and questioned the records of prosecutors and judges involved in those cases, though fewer cases have involved rearresting judges among his appointees. In a case involving concealed wealth in New York, after declaring the defendants guilty, she warned of “possible death and destruction” and linked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, to the liberal megadonor George Soros on her social media platform.

Later, Trump raised objections against Judge Juan Marchán, who is overseeing that case. In April, prior to her presence in his courtroom, Trump called Marchán an “extremely biased judge” and claimed that Marchán and his family “hated Trump.”

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in those cases where he has been found guilty.


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