A Black Woman Overseeing Trump's Jan. 6 Criminal Case Is Poetic Justice
Photo: U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

A Black Woman Overseeing Trump's Jan. 6 Criminal Case Is Poetic Justice

The ex-president's fate rests in the hands of Judge Tanya Chutkan, an Obama appointee who's been tough on insurrectionists

We previously told you about Alvin Bragg and Fani Willis, two prosecutors caught up in the cases against former president and serial indictment collector Donald Trump.

Now another prominent Black law expert has been drawn by the gravitational pull of the ex-POTUS's legal troubles. Tanya S. Chutkan has been a District of Columbia district court judge since her 2014 appointment by Obama and was randomly assigned this week to Trump's indictment involving allegations of trying to overthrow the 2020 election. According to Politico, he faces two counts of obstructing an official proceeding, one count of conspiracy against the right to vote, and one count of defrauding the United States. The possibility of prison time is very real.

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As NBC News points out, Chutkan is the only federal judge from the district who's assigned defendants in Jan. 6 insurrection cases to longer sentences than the government requested.

“It’s probably the worst draw for Trump. She’s the worst judge he could’ve gotten handed,” an attorney who represented a Jan. 6 defendant told Rolling Stone. “She’s pleasant, she’s nice, and she’s fair, but she’s a tough judge with these January 6 cases.”

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What else do we know about Chutkan? Well, she's 61, she's from Kingston, Jamaica, and she studied Economics at George Washington University and got her law degree from Pennsylvania Law School. She has experience as a trial lawyer and later in her career she specialized in litigation and white-collar criminal defense (Trump might like that!). She also handled class-action plaintiffs as well as corporate defendants, according to her bio.

The two have crossed paths before: She rejected a motion from Trump's legal team related to White House documents and January 6. When she was confirmed for the bench in 2014, it was by unanimous Senate vote, despite her liberal background, The Hill reports.

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One interesting tidbit this week: The BBC reports that in an exchange in her court, Chutkan said she's nervous about the indictment case. She said she hasn't slept since being assigned. A lawyer replied, "Please be safe."

"I'll try," Chutkan said.