Federal Judge Tanya Chutkan has denied a motion from former President Donald Trump to strike certain language from an indictment he is facing from Special Counsel Jack Smith. Smith accuses Trump in this case of multiple criminal conspiracies that targeted the 2020 presidential election results.
Trump had specifically challenged links drawn between the violence at the Capitol and his own words and actions, iterated links including the argument from prosecutors that he essentially directed individuals who showed up on the scene. And Chutkan’s sticking with Smith.
In her comparatively brief, three-page rejection, she said that jurors in this case would not be provided with a copy of the indictment, eliminating one of the avenues by which any potentially unfair prejudice arising from the language on January 6 could even be cultivated. A filing from the Trump team points to the supposed prospect of members of the jury pool nonetheless being effectively impacted from the supposedly prejudicial language in the indictment via distribution in various media reports, but Trump evidently presented no specific evidence backing that up.
Chutkan stated as much, recapping how the ordinary process of jury selection would facilitate the examination of potential problems among jurors. “His sole argument is that even if the jury does not receive a copy of the indictment, “[v]oluminous evidence exists here that the jury pool has been, and continues to be, exposed to the Indictment and its inflammatory and prejudicial allegations, through media coverage relating to the case,”” Chutkan said in her Friday decision. “But Defendant fails to cite even one example of that evidence.”
Elsewhere, Smith and his team are arguing before a federal appeals court for the reactivation of a gag order on Trump originally imposed by Chutkan. The restrictions, as originally formulated, block Trump from attacks on witnesses, among other potential targets. Prosecutors say a dynamic has clearly been established by which Trump’s language, even if not directly and explicitly encouraging violence, can nonetheless spur such threats.