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Judge in Trump election interference case won’t remove references to Jan. 6 from indictment

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has rejected former President Donald Trump’s request to remove references to violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, from his indictment for interfering in the federal election in a case expected to go to trial shortly more than three months.

Trump sought to have certain passages struck from the indictment, which was returned in August, on the grounds that they would inflame the jury and create bias against him, even though he was not accused of no violent crimes.

But U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan wrote in an order Friday that there was no risk that the indictment would create bias among jurors because they would not get a copy of the indictment. accusation himself to refer to it during deliberations. The jury selection process will weed out any potential jurors who have already read the indictment and been exposed to the references to violence, she added.

“Regardless of whether or not the allegations at issue are relevant, defendant has not met his burden to clearly demonstrate that they are prejudicial,” Chutkan wrote.

Trump’s motion, she wrote, makes “numerous inflammatory and baseless accusations” and “dedicates only a single paragraph to the prejudice requirement,” in which the former president claims the jury been “exposed to the indictment and its inflammatory and damaging allegations.” by media coverage of the affair. But Trump’s motion “does not cite even a single example of this evidence,” she wrote.

“In any event, voir dire “The process will allow the court to consider and address the effects that pretrial publicity, including that generated by the defendant, has had on the impartiality of potential jurors,” Chutkan wrote. “When the trial begins, the court will also take steps to screen the jurors for any irrelevant and prejudicial material that either party seeks to introduce. Additionally, before the jurors deliberate, the court will will inform them of the actual accusations and the evidence which they can take into account in their deliberations.”

In its filing, Trump’s legal team argued: “Because the government has not charged President Trump with responsibility for the actions at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the allegations related to those actions are irrelevant and are harmful and inflammatory. »

In an additional filing, Trump’s team argued that “not a single piece of evidence suggests that President Trump called for violence or asked anyone to illegally enter the Capitol.”

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Chutkan’s decision.

The judge’s decision comes as a federal appeals court prepares to hear arguments Monday on the limited silence order Chutkan imposed on Trump in the election interference trial, one of four criminal cases facing the leading Republican presidential candidate is facing and one of two federal cases. presented by Special Advisor Jack Smith. The silence was temporarily suspended until the appeal court hearing.

More than 1,200 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack, and online sleuths who helped prosecute hundreds of rioters say about 1,000 additional participants have been identified but have not yet been arrested.

Trump’s trial is scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024. The former president has pleaded not guilty.

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