My dad had a saying: “a hit dog will holler,” which means you don’t have to call someone’s name for them to know you’re talking about them. This is apparently a new defense tactic for Donald Trump’s attorneys. Their motion to recuse Judge Tanya Chutkan was based on innuendo. They cited two statements Judge Chutkan made while sentencing two different January 6 insurrectionists. Judge Chutkan never mentioned Trump by name; his attorneys not only took Judge Chutkan’s words out of context, but they can apparently read her mind, since their motion included the words: “suggests that in her view.” Since Trump’s attorneys are focused on their interpretations of Judge Chutkan’s thoughts and make observations on statements she made in the past, I have one suggestion for them: start working on a real defense.
In her show cause order, Judge Chutkan warned Trump’s attorneys that for future filings, they must confer with the DOJ, or she will summarily deny their motions. To suggest that Judge Chutkan will be patently unfair to Donald Trump is an insult to the bench. Funny, Smith hasn’t moved to recuse Aileen Cannon, even though we’ve seen her rule in Trump’s favor without benefit of legal precedence. Smith, unlike Trump’s attorneys, is a quietly confident man whose evidence will speak for itself. He has no need for courtroom antics. In response to this nonsensical filing, legal experts weighed in.
Speaking with Newsweek, Professor Carl Tobias said that defendant’s motion was “not sound,” and he further opined that should they appeal Judge Chutkan’s ultimate ruling, they will fail, which means Tobias expects the judge to deny the motion. Laurence Tribe also spoke to Newsweek, saying that the comments around which defendant’s motion center “did not prejudice Trump’s guilt-certainly not of the charges pending before her, which conspicuously do not include any charge of insurrection.” He is correct. George Conway brought home the “hit dog” analogy: “A careful reading of this excerpt from Trump’s recusal brief shows it’s not Judge Chutkan who has expressed the view that P01135809 was responsible for the events of January 6, but rather Trump’s lawyers, via *their* assumption that their client planned the attack. Oops.” Yep. That hit dog did holler.
It doesn’t help that Trump’s attorney waited so long to file this motion. A recusal motion is typically filed immediately upon selection of the judge, not after several motions have been filed and denied. This doesn’t mean Judge Chutkan won’t be fair. Instead, it means that Trump’s team doesn’t like the results that have (or haven’t, as the case may be) gotten. Just as Trump claims to have the right to say whatever he wishes under the Fourteenth Amendment, judges have the right to give their opinions during a proceeding. That river flows both ways. Besides, what she said is true. Those people are going to federal prison-where there is no parole-based on the words and actions of others who are still walking around free. Truth doesn’t “prejudice” Trump. Welcome to the real world, Donald Trump, where you don’t always get your way and where you must adhere to the same laws as the rest of us.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years