U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing former President Donald Trump’s criminal election interference case in Washington, D.C., appears to have been targeted by a “swatting” call, in which police were falsely led to believe there was a shooting at her home.
At about 10 p.m. Sunday, the Metropolitan Police Department responded to a report of an active shooting at a house in Washington. Officers quickly “determined no shooting took place,” according to a police report obtained by HuffPost.
NBC News revealed on Monday that the home belongs to Chutkan. The judge was at home alone when officers arrived but “was not injured” during the police response, according to the MPD report.
It remains unclear who made the emergency call. The incident appears to be an act of “swatting,” or falsely reporting a crime to prompt a heavy and tactical police response (such as by a SWAT team) to a specific location, putting everyone involved at risk.
Although police didn’t identify a motive for the call, it came not long after Chutkan denied Trump’s request for immunity in the election interference case that’s set to begin March 4 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
“Former Presidents enjoy no special conditions on their federal criminal liability,” she wrote in her ruling last month.
Trump has repeatedly taken public jabs at Chutkan in front of more than 6 million followers on Truth Social, his own social media platform. He called her a “true Trump hater,” in all capital letters, in October and claimed that she would not be able to preside over a fair trial against him, according to ABC News.
Judges across the nation have faced a deluge of threats since the 2020 election, when Trump began spreading baseless claims that the presidency was stolen from him, even though Democrat Joe Biden won more than 81 million votes to about 74 million for Trump and the Electoral College count went to Biden, 306-232. Multiple lawsuits and attempts to overturn the vote, including the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, ultimately failed.
In 2021, more than 4,500 threats were made against U.S. judges as political tensions grew, Reuters reported. In 2022, a man was charged with attempting to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, CNN reported. Recently, authorities have been looking into threats against the Colorado Supreme Court judges who ruled that Trump’s name could not be included on the state’s primary ballot.
As such, Chutkan, like many other judges, is no stranger to threats in the current political climate. A Texas woman was arrested in August 2023 in connection with a racist voicemail threat to kill Chutkan over the election interference case brought by special counsel Jack Smith.
Chutkan, who was nominated by Barack Obama, has developed a reputation for handing down sentences against Jan. 6 defendants that are more severe than what prosecutors had sought, according to The Associated Press.