Donald Trump
Donald TrumpReuters

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan said on Wednesday she would not recuse herself from former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election interference case in Washington, rejecting Trump’s claims that her past comments raise doubts about whether she can be fair, reported The Associated Press.

Two weeks ago, Trump’s lawyers asked Chutkan to recuse herself from the case over her past public statements about Trump and his connection to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol.

Chutkan, who was nominated to the bench by President Barack Obama and was randomly assigned to Trump’s case, said in her written decision that she sees no reason to step aside. The case accuses Trump of illegally scheming to overturn his election loss to Joe Biden.

“It bears noting that the court has never taken the position the defense ascribes to it: that former ‘President Trump should be prosecuted and imprisoned,’” Chutkan wrote in her decision. “And the defense does not cite any instance of the court ever uttering those words or anything similar.”

Chutkan has stood out as one of the toughest punishers of defendants charged in the Jan. 6 riots.

Federal special counsel Jack Smith’s team said there was no valid basis to have Chutkan removed from the case. Like Chutkan, they said she never said that Trump was legally or morally to blame for the events of Jan. 6 or that he deserved to be punished.

Chutkan last month scheduled the trial for March 4, 2024, over the vigorous objections of defense lawyers who said that would not give them enough time to prepare.