In push to kick Trump off ballot, judge makes decision on recusal

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A 2020 presidential ballot featuring President Donald J. Trump against Joe Biden (Photo by Joe Kovacs)
A 2020 presidential ballot featuring President Donald J. Trump against Joe Biden (Photo by Joe Kovacs)

By Katelynn Richardson
Daily Caller News Foundation

The Colorado judge overseeing the case seeking to remove former President Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot declined to recuse over her donation to an anti-GOP political action committee (PAC) launched in response to Jan. 6.

The lawsuit, filed by the left-wing donor backed organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) in September, seeks to remove Trump from the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, alleging he took an oath to the Constitution and then engaged in “insurrection” by encouraging the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Colorado District Judge Sarah Wallace, an appointee of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, began the trial Monday by declining to recuse and saying that she has “no specific memory” of the donation.

Wallace donated $100 on Oct. 15, 2022 to the Colorado Turnout Project, a PAC that was formed to oppose Republicans who “refused to condemn the political extremists who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021,” accordingto Federal Election Commission data. She took the bench on Jan. 10, 2023.

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“Prior to yesterday, I was not cognizant of this organization or its mission,” Wallace said. “It has always been my practice, whether I was entirely successful or not, to make contributions to individuals, not PACs.”

She assured litigants that she has “formed no opinion whether the events of Jan. 6 constituted an insurrection.”

Wallace also has earmarked close to $1,500 in other ActBlue donations for Democrats since 2016, including $100 to Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock’s campaign on Nov. 10, 2022, per FEC data.

Trump’s lawyer, former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, said during his opening statement Monday that the lawsuit was “anti-democratic” and a “case of lawfare that seeks to interfere with the presidential election.”

Last week, Wallace tossed Trump’s effort to have the case dismissed, rejecting his claim that Congress determines ballot eligibility, not the courts. She also rejected an earlier effort to have the case dismissed on First Amendment grounds.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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