UNITED STATES NEWS

The judge assigned to Trump’s Jan. 6 case is a tough punisher of Capitol rioters

Aug 1, 2023, 4:58 PM | Updated: 6:14 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal judge assigned to the election fraud case against former President Donald Trump has stood out as one of the toughest punishers of rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attack fueled by Trump’s baseless claims of a stolen election. She has also ruled against him before.

Trump is to appear Thursday before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, a former assistant public defender who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama. She often has handed down prison sentences in Jan. 6, 2021, riot cases that are harsher than Justice Department prosecutors recommended.

Trump was indicted Tuesday on federal felony charges for his persistent efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the two months leading up to the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.

Chutkan has ruled against Trump before in a separate Jan. 6 case. In November 2021, she refused his request to block the release of documents to the U.S. House’s Jan. 6 committee by asserting executive privilege.

She rejected his arguments that he could hold privilege over documents from his administration even after President Joe Biden had cleared the way for the National Archives to turn the papers over. She wrote that Trump could not claim his privilege “exists in perpetuity.”

In a memorable line from her ruling, Chutkan wrote, “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.”

Chutkan has sentenced at least 38 people convicted of Capitol riot-related crimes. All 38 received prison terms, ranging from 10 days to over five years, according to an Associated Press analysis of court records.

She is one of two dozen judges in Washington, D.C., who collectively have sentenced nearly 600 defendants for their roles in the Jan. 6 siege. More than one third of them avoided sentences that included incarceration.

Other judges typically have handed down sentences that are more lenient than those requested by prosecutors. Chutkan, however, has matched or exceeded prosecutors’ recommendations in 19 of her 38 sentences. In four of those cases, prosecutors weren’t seeking any jail time at all.

Chutkan has said prison can be a powerful deterrent against the threat of another insurrection.

“Every day we’re hearing about reports of anti-democratic factions of people plotting violence, the potential threat of violence, in 2024,” she said in December 2021 before sentencing a Florida man who attacked police officers to more than five years behind bars. At the time, that sentence was the longest for a Jan. 6 case.

“It has to be made clear that trying to violently overthrow the government, trying to stop the peaceful transition of power and assaulting law enforcement officers in that effort is going to be met with absolutely certain punishment,” she said.

Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump nominee, suggested during a hearing in 2021 that the Justice Department was being too hard on those who broke into the Capitol compared with the people arrested during racial injustice protests following George Floyd’s 2020 murder.

Without naming her colleague, Chutkan criticized McFadden’s suggestion days later.

“People gathered all over the country last year to protest the violent murder by the police of an unarmed man. Some of those protesters became violent,” Chutkan said during an October 2021 hearing.

“But to compare the actions of people protesting, mostly peacefully, for civil rights, to those of a violent mob seeking to overthrow the lawfully elected government is a false equivalency and ignores a very real danger that the Jan. 6 riot posed to the foundation of our democracy.”

___

Associated Press writer Nomaan Merchant contributed to this report.

United States News

Gov. Greg Abbott receives a briefing for Hurricane Beryl from local elected officials Sunday, July ...

Associated Press

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demands answers as customers remain without power after Beryl

DALLAS (AP) — With around 350,000 homes and businesses still without power in the Houston area almost a week after Hurricane Beryl hit Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said he’s demanding an investigation into the response of the utility that serves the area as well as answers about its preparations for upcoming storms. “Power […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Acclaimed video artist Bill Viola dies at 73, created landmark `Tristan und Isolde’ production

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bill Viola, a video artist who combined with director Peter Sellars on a groundbreaking production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” originally seen in Los Angeles, Paris and New York, has died at age 73. Viola died Friday at his home in Long Beach of Alzheimer’s disease, his website announced. What […]

2 hours ago

People reacting to near assassination attempt of Donald Trump at rally...

Associated Press

Governor says man killed at Trump rally was former fire chief who ‘died a hero’

A former fire chief attending the rally with family was killed, as was the gunman. Two other people were also critically wounded.

5 hours ago

Donald Trump being helped off rally stage...

Associated Press

Law enforcement: Bomb-making materials found in vehicle and home of Trump rally shooting suspect

Law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that bomb-making materials were found inside the vehicle of the man suspected in the Trump rally shooting. There were also bomb-making materials found at his home.

7 hours ago

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden appeals for ‘unity’ after attempted Trump assassination, orders security review

President Joe Biden on Sunday appealed for the country to “unite as one nation” after the attempted assassination of Donald Trump.

7 hours ago

FILE - President Ronald Reagan waves and then looks up before being shoved into the President's lim...

Associated Press

Reagan survived an assassination attempt and his response changed the trajectory of his presidency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The would-be assassin got off six shots in 1.7 seconds, nearly taking the life of a president and changing the trajectory of a presidency. It happened on a dreary March afternoon in 1981. President Ronald Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton hotel after giving a speech to a union group when John […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

The judge assigned to Trump’s Jan. 6 case is a tough punisher of Capitol rioters