Apparent ‘squashing’ incidents point to judge, prosecutor in Trump election case | ET REALITY


Police officers and emergency personnel were sent Sunday night to the Washington home of the federal judge overseeing former President Donald J. Trump’s election interference case in what appeared to be a “swatting” incident, according to three people. familiar with the matter.

Police and fire vehicles responded to a report that a shooting had occurred at the home of Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who has been handling the criminal case accusing Trump of plotting to overturn the 2020 election, they said. people. According to an incident report released by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department that did not name Judge Chutkan, officers were “informed that she was not injured and that no one was home” when they arrived at the home around 10 pm on Sunday.

The episode at Judge Chutkan’s home came two weeks after special prosecutor Jack Smith, who brought the election subversion charge against Trump, was the victim of a crushing incident at his home in Maryland, according to a person familiar with the situation. On Christmas Day, someone called Montgomery County police and filed a false report that Smith had shot his wife, the person said. Mr. Smith’s slap was previously reported by NBC News.

Swatting is the colloquial term for submitting false reports to police to provoke a threatening or potentially dangerous response from officers. Swatting incidents have become more common in recent years and have been used against a number of politicians and public figures.

. There have yet been no arrests in connection with the incidents and it was unclear whether they were related to the election interference case. But they were a reminder of the potential threats faced by people involved in the various criminal cases against Trump.

The incident involving Judge Chutkan took place two days before a crucial appeals court hearing on Trump’s claim that he is immune from prosecution in the case because the charges arose from actions he took while in the White House.

In July 2022, another Washington federal judge, Emmet G. Sullivan, also called police to his home in what appeared to be a crushing incident. That episode took place the night before Judge Sullivan presided over a hearing in which Anthime Gionet, a far-right activist nicknamed “Baked Alaska,” would plead guilty in connection with the attack on the Capitol.

Both Judge Chutkan and Mr. Smith have faced threats in the past related to their work on the Trump criminal case, which has been unfolding in Federal District Court in Washington.

In August, just days after Trump was impeached, a woman left a voicemail for Judge Chutkan, who is Black, in his chambers in Washington, using a racial slur and threatening to kill her.

“If Trump is not elected in 2024, we will come to kill you, so act carefully,” the woman said in the message, adding: “You will be a target personally, publicly, your family, all of that.”

The message for Judge Chutkan was left just one day after Trump posted his own threatening, yet cryptic, statement on social media. “IF YOU GO FOR ME, I’LL GO FOR YOU!” he wrote. (His campaign later said his words were not directed at anyone involved in the election interference case.)

A Texas woman, Abigail Jo Shry, was eventually arrested and faces prosecution there.

Trump has relentlessly gone after Smith in social media posts, describing him as a “thug” and “unhinged.” Prosecutors have said he has suffered threats from other people without specifying their nature.

In September, prosecutors cited threats against Judge Chutkan and Mr. Smith in their request to Judge Chutkan to impose a gag order on the former president. Prosecutors cited several other cases in which Trump verbally attacked people involved in the cases he faces, arguing that his online comments often had real-world consequences.

Judge Chutkan ultimately imposed the gag order, but allowed Trump to say whatever he wanted about it. A federal appeals court later upheld the order but reduced its terms to allow Trump, among other things, to also attack Smith.

charlie wild contributed reports.

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