According to Mediaite, federal District Judge Tanya Chutkan has firmly rejected a motion by former President Donald Trump to strike mentions of the January 6 events from his election crimes trial.
The order, issued in response to Trump’s request “to Strike Inflammatory Allegations From the Indictment,” was characterized by Judge Chutkan as containing “inflammatory and unsupported accusations” against President Joe Biden.
In her order, Judge Chutkan highlighted Trump’s allegations, such as claiming that President Biden directed the Department of Justice to prosecute him through a calculated leak to the New York Times.
She pointed out that Trump’s defense failed to provide concrete examples of evidence supporting his argument that the jury pool had been exposed to inflammatory and prejudicial allegations through media coverage.
Judge Chutkan emphasized that the voir dire process would allow the court to assess the impartiality of potential jurors regarding pretrial publicity, including any generated by Trump.
She assured that steps would be taken during the trial to screen irrelevant and prejudicial material from the jury and that jurors would receive instructions on the actual charges and the evidence to consider during deliberations.
The order concludes by denying Trump’s motion to strike inflammatory allegations from the indictment, reinforcing the judge’s commitment to a fair and impartial trial.
Trump is facing four felony charges under Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment for his alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The charges include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.
Defendant’s sixteen-page Reply In Support of the Motion, despite making numerous inflammatory and unsupported accusations of its own, see, e.g., ECF No. 156 at 7 (“President Biden directed the Department of Justice to prosecute his leading opponent for the presidency through a calculated leak to the New York Times.”), devotes only a single paragraph to the prejudice requirement.
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.” ID. AT 16. BUT DEFENDANT FAILS TO CITE EVEN ONE EXAMPLE OF THAT EVIDENCE. IN ANY EVENT, THE VOIR DIRE PROCESS WILL ALLOW THE COURT TO EXAMINE AND ADDRESS THE EFFECTS THAT PRETRIAL PUBLICITY, INCLUDING ANY GENERATED BY DEFENDANT, HAS HAD ON THE IMPARTIALITY OF POTENTIAL JURORS.
WHEN TRIAL BEGINS, THE COURT WILL ALSO TAKE STEPS TO SCREEN FROM THE JURY ANY IRRELEVANT AND PREJUDICIAL MATERIAL THAT EITHER PARTY SEEKS TO INTRODUCE. MOREOVER, BEFORE THE JURORS DELIBERATE, THE COURT WILL INSTRUCT THEM ON THE ACTUAL CHARGES AND THE EVIDENCE THEY MAY CONSIDER IN THEIR DELIBERATIONS. SEE UNITED STATES V. EMPIRE BULKERS LTD., 583 F. SUPP. 3D 746, 760 (E.D. LA. 2022) (PROVIDING THAT JURY INSTRUCTIONS WOULD “MAKE CLEAR TO [JURORS] WHAT DEFENDANTS ARE ACTUALLY CHARGED WITH” AND “THE VERDICT FORM WILL NOT ASK THE JURY TO CONSIDER ISSUES FOR WHICH DEFENDANTS HAVE NOT BEEN CHARGED”). THIS TOO WILL PREVENT “POTENTIAL PREJUDICE FROM THE ALLEGED SURPLUSAGE.”
FOR THESE REASONS, DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO STRIKE INFLAMMATORY ALLEGATIONS FROM THE INDICTMENT, ECF NO. 115, IS HEREBY DENIED.