Donald Trump to seek new judge in 2020 election trial

His latest target is US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan, appointed by Democratic former president Barack Obama

Former US President Donald Trump sits between his lawyers Todd Blanche and John Lauro as he faces charges. Reuters
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Former US president Donald Trump on Sunday said he would petition a US court to have the judge in his criminal trial recused, claiming Tanya Chutkan would not give him a fair hearing.

The twice-impeached Republican has unleashed a stream of invective against those prosecuting him or running the case, in which he faces charges over attempts to overturn the 2020 election results and defraud US voters.

Ms Chutkan, who was appointed by Democratic former president Barack Obama, will preside over the case in the District Court in Washington and is Mr Trump's latest target.

“We will be immediately asking for recusal of this judge on very powerful grounds, and likewise for venue change,” out of Washington, which leans heavily towards the Democratic Party.

Ms Chutkan has rebuffed the Trump legal team's recent demands.

On Saturday she denied their motion to extend a deadline for responding to the US government's protective order request that could limit what Mr Trump and his lawyers can share publicly about his case.

They wanted to push the deadline to Thursday, but the judge said they must abide by the current deadline of 5pm on Monday.

Ms Chutkan, 61, is one of a dozen judges on the Washington federal district court bench and was randomly assigned to the case.

She has a legal history with Mr Trump, having ruled against him in a November 2021 case in which she notably declared that “presidents are not kings".

And she has handed down lengthy sentences to Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol on January 6 of that year.

Mr Trump, front-runner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination for 2024, has also denigrated Washington.

Shortly after his arraignment on Thursday, when he pleaded not guilty to the four charges against him, he told reporters the capital city was one of “filth and decay".

Mr Trump's trial date in the election case is expected to be announced on August 28 at a hearing before Ms Chutkan.

Updated: August 06, 2023, 6:39 PM