U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has been assigned to oversee a second trial of former President Donald Trump.
Chutkan, who is leading Trump’s federal criminal trial for crimes related to subverting the 2020 election, was hired earlier this month to take on a civil case alleging that Trump tried to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Michigan by disenfranchising black voters.
A court document received from Newsweek on Tuesday shows that Chutkan — an appointee of former President Barack Obama — was assigned to the case on Oct. 6 “at the direction of the Calendar Committee,” replacing Biden-appointed Judge Ana Reyes, her colleague on the U.S. District Court for the District Columbia.
The legal actionThe lawsuit, filed by the NAACP and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, accuses the ex-president, his campaign and the Republican National Committee of committing civil rights violations through “targeted harassment, intimidation and efforts to prevent the full counting and certification” of valid ballots.
“Plaintiffs and their voters have suffered affronts to dignity through Defendants’ undermining of their full citizenship and through Defendants’ perpetuation of the harmful myth that votes cast in communities with large Black populations are more likely to be fraudulent,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit was originally filed just weeks after the election ended with Trump’s defeat in November 2020. Last year, the former president’s legal team was unsuccessful in their efforts to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that Trump was “absolutely immune” from any liability.
While ruling on the matter, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan wrote that the ex-president’s alleged actions “do not constitute executive action in defense of the Constitution.”
Chutkan’s assignment to another case involving Trump comes after the former president repeatedly called her a “biased” and “highly partisan” judge.
Last month, Trump’s legal team failed in its attempt to get Chutkan to recuse himself from the federal election subversion case, in which Trump is facing four felony charges related to attempts to overturn his 2020 defeat and the subsequent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
On Monday, Chutkan imposed a “narrow” gag order on Trump in the criminal case, barring him from participating in a “smear campaign” targeting special counsel Jack Smith, court staff, prosecutors and potential witnesses.
Trump compared himself to notorious Chicago mob boss Al Capone when discussing the gag order hours later during a 2024 presidential campaign stop in Iowa, claiming that Chutkan had dedicated her life to “not liking” him. and vowed to go to prison “if that’s what it takes.”
“She hasn’t liked me her whole life, but she’s given a gag order,” Trump said. “Do you know what a gag order is? You can’t talk badly about your opponent. But this is all a weapon because Joe Biden is losing the election.”
“But what they don’t understand is that I’m willing to go to prison if that’s what it takes for our country to win and become a democracy again,” he added.
Chutkan’s order specifically did not prohibit Trump from criticizing Biden or claiming that his legal troubles were “politically motivated,” speech that the judge said was protected as “critical First Amendment freedoms.”
Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 91 crimes for which he was charged in four criminal indictments this year. He also faces several civil lawsuits. In a summary judgment last month in a civil case over his business dealings in New York, the ex-president was found liable for fraud.
The former president claims that all cases against him are part of a “witch hunt” and “election interference” launched by his political opponents.