A courtroom sketch depicting Judge Tanya Sudkan’s exchange with Donald Trump’s lawyers.
Former President Donald Trump lost his bid for federalism on Wednesday Judge Remove himself from presiding over his criminal election interference case in Washington, DC
“His resignation is not warranted in this case,” Justice Tanya Sudkan said in a court ruling.
Trump’s attorneys argued that Sutgan made “inappropriate” statements about him in separate lawsuits in which two defendants are charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots.
Defense attorneys said Sutkan’s statements showed prejudice against Trump and that he believed he “should be tried and put in jail.”
The judge rejected that argument Wednesday, writing that “the court never took the defense’s position.”
“Based on a review of the law, the facts and the record, the Court concludes that a reasonable observer would not doubt his ability to uphold his judicial oath,” Sutken wrote in his 20-page opinion.
Trump has been indicted in US District Court in Washington on four counts of conspiring to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
He has pleaded not guilty to one of the four pending criminal cases he faces in a case brought by special prosecutor Jack Smith.
The January 6 riots by violent mobs of Trump supporters who stormed the US capital after he falsely claimed the 2020 election was rigged are a central component of the prosecution against him.
In asking Sutkan to recuse himself, Trump’s lawyers pointed to what he said at sentencing hearings for two men, Christine Briola and Robert Palmer, who were convicted for their conduct during the riots.
During Briola’s sentencing, Sutgen said, “Those who mobbed that Capitol were loyal, loyal to a man — not to the Constitution.”
“This is blind loyalty to a person who remains free to this day,” the judge said.
Trump’s lawyers wrote in Briola’s hearing that the comment sent an “inexorable” message: “President Trump is independent, but shouldn’t be.”
When Palmer was sentenced, Sutgen told him, “Mr. Palmer — you made a good point, one that was made earlier — the people who inspired you, inspired you, rallied you to go and take action and fight. No charge.”
Trump’s lawyers wrote to Palmer that Sudkan’s comments “reflected his express opinion” that Trump’s conduct “supports the allegations.”
But Sudken, in his ruling denying the motion to dismiss, said his statements “directly reflect the facts and arguments presented by those defendants.”
“And the court has specifically identified the evidence under which the courts have informed its statements,” he added.
Trump has slammed Sutkan as a “biased, Trump-hating judge.”
Appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama in 2014, Sudkan has imposed longer sentences than prosecutors had sought in the cases of several Jan. 6 defendants.
Smith asked Sudkan to impose a partial gag order limiting what Trump can say about prospective witnesses and court officials and other parties in the case.
Trump’s lawyers on Tuesday urged Sudkan not to impose those restrictions, saying they were an attempt to “unconstitutionally silence” the former president as he seeks the 2024 GOP nomination.