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Trump Judge Will Not Be Intimidated By Anyone As She Prepares For Election Trial

Judge Tanya Chutkan, the presiding judge in the Trump conspiracy case regarding his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, is built for the moment.

According to The New York Times, Chutkan, a 61-year-old former public defender and civil litigator, has built a reputation as a tough but fair judge. Trump, of course, has wasted little time attacking Chutkan on his social media platform, Truth Social, where he characterized the judge as “VERY BIASED AND UNFAIR”.

Trump’s attorneys are attempting to use the magistrate’s reputation to earn a recusal. They say her statements during the Jan. 6 insurrectionists’ trials constitute a bias against the disgraced former president.

Chutkan has already warned the former commander-in-chief that his right to free speech is not absolute as it relates to the case, informing him during preliminary hearings that he “must yield to the orderly administration of justice.”

Trump supporters took cues from their leader and threatened Chutkan’s life. She now has United States marshals accompanying her during her morning routine. Her sister, Robynne Chutkan, informed the Times that her sister was not swayed by what other people think of her, which “makes her good at her job.” 

What stands out, besides her intelligence and fairness, is that she’s very cognizant of the fact that defendants aren’t lawyers—she’s always very clear in her rulings,” said Heather Shaner, a Washington defense lawyer. 

Chutkan’s statements concerning her reasoning for ignoring the government’s recommendation for either probation or home detention are crystal clear. She believed those who participated in the January 6, 2021, revolt should should face severe punishment. In October 2021, she told the court as she issued a 45-day prison sentence, “There have to be consequences for participating in an attempted violent overthrow of the government beyond sitting at home.” 

Robynne says that her Jamaican immigrant background informs how she views cases involving an understanding of democracy.

 “For someone who is not very sentimental, my sister is surprisingly patriotic,” her sibling explained. “We come from a country that has a more precarious relationship with democracy than America. It gives her a reverence for democratic institutions, whether it’s the orderly transfer of power or everyone being deserving of a fair defense.”

An anonymous judicial colleague of Chutkan told reporters that Chutkan is unflappable in the face of pressure. The colleague cited Chutkan’s trials in 2020 that blocked the death penalty for 13 individuals, which allowed them the opportunity to challenge whether lethal injections violated their constitutional rights.

Several of the cases are still under judicial review. The colleague told reporters those cases had life and death hanging in the balance: “You think the Trump case is high pressure?”

Trump’s trial begins on March 4, 2024.