There’s disturbing news from the election interference trenches. Both federal judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the criminal election interference case against former president Donald Trump, and special prosecutor Jack Smith, who is bringing those (and other) charges, were swatted recently. Swatting is a potentially deadly “prank” where police are falsely informed that there’s an active shooter at a victim’s home. Even with no crime in progress at these location, the police interaction can turn deadly.
As reported by CNN, the incident at Judge Chutkan’s home took place over the weekend:
The source told CNN that a male caller said he had shot his girlfriend and would kill himself. The address the caller provided on the call was federal Judge Tanya Chutkan’s. Swatting incidents are dangerous prank calls that are made to authorities to lure them to a location under the false pretense that a crime has been committed or is in progress.
According to the DC Metropolitan Police Department, officers responded to a reported shooting on Sunday night, but when they arrived to the location, they determined there was none.
While the swatting attempt at Smith’s home happened on Christmas day, as per NBC News:
According to two law enforcement sources, someone called 911 and said that Smith had shot his wife at the address where Smith lives.
Montgomery County Police dispatched units toward the home but were called off when the Deputy U.S. Marshals protecting Smith and his family told police that it was a false alarm and that everyone inside the home was safe.
Listen, swatting is a complicated problem, exacerbated by the increased militarization of local police departments and the cult of the Second Amendment that allows everyday citizens to own weapons of war. But it’s pretty clear the anger that Tump is whipping up over the prospect of facing the consequences of his own actions is spilling over to his diehard supporters. And so, this is another risk the public servants acting to ensure we have free and fair elections in this country are taking on when they do their job. You know, in addition to the straightforward threats.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @[email protected].