(Bloomberg) -- A federal judge in Washington rejected Donald Trump’s request to strike language from the federal election-obstruction indictment that refers to the violence at the US Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack by his supporters.
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In a three-page opinion, US District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Friday found that Trump failed to show that the text of the charging document was likely to prejudice jurors, since she didn’t intend to give them a copy. Also, the judge and lawyers on both sides will get the opportunity to screen potential jurors influenced by pretrial publicity, she wrote.
Trump isn’t directly charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, when thousands of people descended on the Capitol complex and breached the building as Congress met to certify the 2020 election results. But prosecutors did accuse him of deceiving his supporters with false election-fraud claims, directing the crowd that gathered on Jan. 6 to hear him speak to go to the Capitol and exploiting the attack to make a final push to halt the certification.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to the obstruction and conspiracy charges. A trial is set to begin March 4.
Chutkan wrote in Friday’s order that Trump failed to present evidence that the potential jury pool in Washington had been exposed to what the defense argued was “inflammatory” language in the indictment. She said she would take steps once the trial began to shield the jurors from “irrelevant and prejudicial” information and would instruct them about the charges and evidence they were allowed to consider in their deliberations.
The judge also noted that Trump’s court brief on the subject included “numerous inflammatory and unsupported accusations of its own.”
A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately return a request for comment. A spokesperson for Special Counsel John “Jack” Smith’s office declined to comment.
(Updated with additional information from the order and background on the case.)
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