Government officials who are poised against Donald Trump are seen as heroes. Or are they painted as heroes to make them more likely to punish Trump? The Washington Post gushed over Tanya Chutkan, and we can guess in part because she’s “developed a reputation for being more punitive than her peers” on January 6 defendants.
The headline on Page One over this three-byline story by Rachel Weiner, Keith Alexander, and Spencer Hsu:
‘Reasonable’ at trial and tough in her sentencing
Judge Chutkan heads into Trump case with a wealth of experience
Reasonable, and experienced! Aren’t we lucky? Turn inside to A-6, and it’s another header:
Colleagues recall Chutkan as a coolheaded ‘natural talent’
The Post is putting great hopes in this judge to convict Trump:
How Jamaica-born Judge Tanya S. Chutkan became Trump’s latest target. She has jailed every Jan 6 defendant to come before her, the only active DC judge to do so. By @rachelweinerwp @keithlalexander and @hsu_spencer https://t.co/NLWvnO80Dj
— Tom Jackman (@TomJackmanWP) September 27, 2023
She is one of only two D.C. judges to give every convicted rioter before them some time behind bars. And she is three times as likely as others to grant or exceed prosecutors’ recommendations, according to Washington Post data, often noting that Jan. 6 defendants benefited from advantages other criminals lack….
Through mid-September, Chutkan had sentenced every one of the 34 defendants before her to at least some time behind bars, according to Washington Post data. She granted or exceeded prosecutors’ recommendations in about 53 percent of those cases, compared with 17 percent for the rest of the judges on the D.C. bench. Defense attorneys say they have been warned by friends in the federal public defender’s office to expect Chutkan to mete out incarceration.
The reporter trio did explain her donations show she’s a good Democrat:
Federal Election Commission records show that over the past two decades, Chutkan donated to Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns — $2,273 to his 2008 campaign for president and $1,000 for his 2012 reelection campaign — and to Kirsten Gillibrand, a former Boies Schiller partner who is now a Democratic senator from New York. In 2012, she volunteered for a group called Lawyers for Obama, making calls for campaign events.
That gives the Democrat subscribers to the Post even more hope. And Chutkan doesn’t tolerate anyone comparing January 6 to the post-George Floyd rioting in 2020:
Over the past 2½ years, Chutkan has repeatedly criticized attempts to compare Jan. 6 and its aftermath to injustices against Black people or protests for racial justice. At a sentencing in October 2021, she said “that to compare the actions of people protesting, mostly peacefully, for civil rights, to those of a violent mob seeking to overthrow the lawfully elected government is a false equivalency and ignores a very real danger that the January 6 riot posed to the foundation of our democracy.” She called it “offensive” and “audacious” when one of the few Black people charged with involvement in the Capitol attack said he was following in the footsteps of forebears who fought for civil rights in the 1960s.
The Post did not explain she said this at a sentencing hearing for Matthew Mazzocco, and the federal complaint explains he was guilty of walking around the Capitol, telling people not to destroy anything and posting a selfie saying “The Capitol is ours!” In other words, he was “mostly peaceful.”
Chutkan gave him 45 days in jail, when prosecutors recommended home detention.