Legal expert: Trump-appointed judges are undermining Jan. 6 prosecutions
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In an op-ed for POLITICO this Friday, attorney and former federal prosecutor Ankush Khardori cites the recent "outright acquittal" of Capitol rioter Matthew Martin and points out that the acquittal came thanks to a Trump-appointed judge, who was "one of several Trump-appointed judges who, in recent months, have been making highly questionable decisions while presiding over various Jan. 6 prosecutions."

According to Khardori, the decisions are "so out of step with the decisions of most of their colleagues — and in some cases even common sense," that they're undermining the appearance "and reality" of an apolitical judicial approach to Jan. 6 cases.

The judge, Trevor McFadden, has repeatedly raised questions about whether Jan. 6 defendants are being treated more harshly than protesters who partook in violence during the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. He also, Khardori writes, rendered a split verdict in another misdemeanor Jan. 6 case "after needlessly forcing the government — over prosecutors’ strenuous objections given the security implications — to disclose where in the Capitol the Secret Service took Vice President Mike Pence in order to protect him during the siege."

Khardori goes to cite other cases presided over by Trump-appointed judges, one of whom is Judge Carl Nichols, who is overseeing the contempt-of-Congress case against former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and became the first and only judge "in the district to dismiss the Justice Department’s obstruction-of-Congress charge before trial."

"The recent and very dubious decisions by Trump appointees in criminal cases stemming from Jan. 6 seem to confirm some of the concerns that many observers had about the quality and intellectual independence of Trump’s appointments to the federal trial courts," Khardori writes. "This points to a disconcerting possibility that we may have entered a new era in which the judiciary at even the lowest levels operates in a politicized manner in important cases."

Read the full op-ed over at POLITICO.

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