Rep. Elise Stefanik Lodges Complaint Against Judge Who Oversaw Jan. 6, Trump Cases

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) on Friday filed a complaint and called for an ethics investigation into a federal judge who has overseen multiple cases related to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and former President Donald Trump.

The complaint alleged that U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell engaged in judicial misconduct during a recent speech, which Stefanik described as a “highly inappropriate.”

At a Women’s White Collar Defense Association gala last month, Howell received the Champion Award, which is given to those who have “made a profound impact or achieved significant success in the white collar field while advancing opportunities for women.”

Howell, who has presided over former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s defamation trial, did not name Trump or other Republicans in her speech, but focused on the 2021 insurrection.

“My D.C. judicial colleagues and I regularly see the impact of big lies at the sentencing of hundreds, hundreds of individuals who have been convicted for offense conduct on Jan. 6, 2021, when they disrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election at the U.S. Capitol,” Howell said in the speech.

Howell suggested that the dangers present during that 2021 riot are still alive today, especially due to a disregard of facts.

“We are having a very surprising and downright troubling moment in this country when the very importance of facts is dismissed, or ignored,” Howell said. “That’s very risky business for all of us in our democracy. … The facts matter.”

She also quoted a claim from Boston College historian Heather Cox Richardson’s book “Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America,” which states that the U.S. is “teetering on the brink of authoritarianism.”

In Friday’s complaint — sent to Sri Srinivasan, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit — Stefanik called out Howell’s reference to the book, which she described as an “anti-Trump, anti-Republican Party screed.”

“Judge Howell promoted the Democrat political campaign theme that the re-election of Donald Trump equates to America choosing authoritarianism,” wrote Stefanik, who has endorsed the former president’s 2024 bid. “This is conduct unbecoming of a federal judge.”

Stefanik described Howell’s speech as “hardly apolitical,” insisting that it was “plainly inappropriate, consisting of partisan statements, election interference, and improper extrajudicial statements while criminal cases are pending.” She alleged that the remarks were a violation of the code of conduct for U.S. judges.

Last month, Stefanik also launched an ethics complaint against New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron, who is overseeing a civil fraud case against Trump’s business. She alleged that Engoron had exhibited “bizarre behavior” and “clear judicial bias” against the former president.

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