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Judge Chutkan to face Donald Trump in another case

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has been assigned to oversee a second court case involving former President Donald Trump.

Chutkan, who is presiding over Trump’s federal criminal trial on felony charges related to 2020 election subversion, was earlier this month assigned to take on a civil case alleging that Trump attempted to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Michigan by disenfranchising Black voters.

A court document obtained by Newsweek on Tuesday shows that Chutkan—an appointee of former President Barack Obama—was given the case “by direction of the Calendar Committee” on October 6, taking over for Biden appointee Judge Ana Reyes, her colleague in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The lawsuit, brought by the NAACP and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, accuses the ex-president, his campaign and the Republican National Committee of committing civil rights violations through “targeted harassment, intimidation, and efforts to prevent the complete counting and certification” of valid ballots.

Former President Donald Trump is pictured on the left in New York City on Tuesday, while U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan is shown on the right in an undated photo. Chutkan was recently assigned to take on a second case involving Trump.
Michael M. Santiago; Administrative Office of the U.S. District Court/Getty Images; Administrative Office of the U.S. District Court

“Plaintiffs and their constituents have suffered dignitary injuries by having their full citizenship undermined and by Defendants’ perpetuation of the noxious myth that votes cast in communities with large Black populations are more likely to be fraudulent,” the suit states.

The suit was originally filed just weeks after the election ended with Trump’s defeat in November 2020. Last year, the former president’s legal team was unsuccessful in its effort to dismiss the case on the basis of Trump being “absolutely immune” from any liability.

While ruling on the matter, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote that the alleged actions of the ex-president “would not constitute executive action in defense of the Constitution.”

The assignment of Chutkan to another case involving Trump comes after the former president repeatedly referred to her as a “biased” and “highly partisan” judge.

Last month, Trump’s legal team failed in an attempt to get Chutkan to recuse herself in the federal election subversion case, which charges Trump with four felonies related to efforts to overturn his 2020 loss and the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that followed.

On Monday, Chutkan imposed a “narrowly tailored” gag order on Trump in the criminal case, banning him from engaging in a “smear campaign” by targeting Special Counsel Jack Smith, court staff, prosecutors and potential witnesses.

Trump compared himself to notorious Chicago mob boss Al Capone while speaking about the gag order during a 2024 presidential campaign stop in Iowa hours later, claiming that Chutkan had dedicated her life to “not liking” him and vowing to go to jail “if that’s what it takes.”

“Her whole life is not liking me, but she gave a gag order,” Trump said. “You know what a gag order is? You can’t speak badly about your opponent. But this is weaponry all being done because Joe Biden is losing the election.”

“But what they don’t understand is that I am willing to go to jail if that’s what it takes for our country to win and become a democracy again,” he added.

Chutkan’s order specifically did not ban Trump from criticizing Biden or claiming that his legal woes are “politically motivated,” types of speech that the judge said were protected as “critical First Amendment freedoms.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 91 felony counts that he has been charged with this year across four criminal indictments. He is also facing multiple civil lawsuits. A summary judgment last month in a civil case concerning his business dealings in New York found the ex-president liable for committing fraud.

The former president claims that all of the cases against him are part of a “witch hunt” and “election interference” instigated by his political opponents.

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