The federal judge in the Awan case dismissed a crucial H-1B immigration case against the Department of Homeland Security while failing to disclose to the court that a close family relative is employed in a high-ranking intelligence capacity with DHS, federal records show and sources confirm.
U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan is presiding over the Imran Awan and Hina Alvi bank fraud case in D.C. Last week Chutkan made headlines when it was reported she was appointed to the federal bench by Obama after she kicked thousands in campaign donations to his presidential campaign. Obama also appointed Chutkan’s husband, Peter Krauthamer, a judge to the bench in the District of Columbia Superior Court in 2011.
Now Chutkan is being accused of “many conflicts, direct and indirect,” according to a Justice Department source familiar with the Homeland Security case.
“Legally, she should have walked away from the case,” a federal law enforcement source said.
Judges may not preside over cases in which they have a direct personal bias or financial interest concerning a party to the case, according to federal law.
The plaintiff Save Jobs USA sued DHS to overturn a rule established by President Barack Obama allowing spouses of guest H-1B workers to also seek employment in the tech field. Again, Obama appointed Chutkan to the bench, as well as her husband. Those facts, coupled with a family member linked to the defendant, add up to problematic conflicts for Chutkan.
John Michael Miano, the lead attorney for Save Jobs USA against DHS, told True Pundit Chutkan tilted the court in favor of Homeland Security yet never disclosed she had a close relative employed by the department.
“Judge Chutkan never said anything about any personal relationship to Homeland Security,” said Miano. “But she did definitely tilt the case toward Homeland. We believe her decision was not consistent with legal precedent and the decision turned out slanted in favor of Homeland.”
Chutkan failed to disclose a family relationship with the defendant. She also failed to recuse herself and allow another district court judge to preside. According to federal law, Chutkan’s actions violate a number of laws governing the federal bench. According to the statue dealing with disqualification of judges, 28 U.S. Code § 455, Chutkan’s actions appear to have breached these guidelines:
- Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify themselves in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.
- She shall also disqualify herself where she has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding
- She shall also disqualify herself where she or her spouse, or a person within the third degree of relationship to either of them, or the spouse of such a person Is known by the judge to have an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding;
Save Jobs USA is a group of former American computer workers that were replaced by foreign workers with H-1B guest-worker visas. The group sued Homeland Security in April 2015 to stop Obama’s rule from taking what they estimate was 200,000 jobs from American tech workers.
Chutkan ruled that Save Jobs USA didn’t have standing to bring the case and that the case had no merit.
Miano said he didn’t believe Chutkan went to any extremes to dismiss the case, which he has since appealed but he did feel she was biased toward protecting Obama’s immigration doctrine. Miano said that not ruling in Homeland Security’s favor would have been a landmark setback for Obama’s immigration programs.
“We knew early what we were getting with her,” Miano said. “She was a political appointee of Obama and we expected that she would come down on that (Obama’s) side.”
Federal law enforcement sources disclosed to True Pundit the identity of Chutkan’s family member who is employed by Homeland. Because the individual works in undercover intelligence capacities, we are withholding the name of the individual since the identity of the subject is not germane to the case. What is relevant, however, is that Chutkan failed to disclose their relationship.
Federal law enforcement sources said they have fading confidence that Chutkan will remain impartial on the Awan case. The judge has already come under fire for tilting the case in Awan’s favor, granting motions by his legal team to give the accused fraudster more leeway and travel freedom with his pretrial intervention program, while stifling third-party motions to offer evidence in the case.
A Justice Department source said the case has already been tainted by Chutkan’s conflicts with Obama, who could be implicated in the Awan case if were ever expanded by FBI. The source said there are plea talks that indicate no one will see significant jail time.
Awan and Alvi, husband and wife, were indicted on bank fraud and financial crimes on August 17, but federal agents believe this case is much larger than mortgage-related crimes. There is growing evidence, for instance the Awans could have sold classified information to foreign governments outside the United States. Then there is growing talk that the Awans may have blackmailed Congress with damaging emails and photos. FBI sources also believe someone in Congress tipped the Awans off months before their grand jury indictment.
Chutkan contributed to his Obama’s first presidential campaign eight separate times. In all Chukan kicked over $4,000 to Obama’s campaign and PACs, almost maxing out the personal contribution limit set by the FEC, records show. Chutkan’s mother-in-law also contributed campaign cash to Obama, records confirm.
The explosive Awan case could also possibly implicate Obama as well as former attorneys general Holder and Lynch. Those tenets have not been lost on veteran federal agents with knowledge of the evidence unfolding in this complicated case against a family of alleged Pakistani IT gurus.
Chutkan, the federal judge on the Awan case, was born in Jamaica. She lived in Jamaica, the Bahamas, France and Spain before coming to the United States, federal law enforcement sources said.
Chutkan’s former law firm, where she worked until her appointment to the federal bench in 2014, currently represents Huma Abedin, the wife of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner. The firm also is stacked with Democratic lawyers who worked for Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, and Barack Obama’s White House, just to name a few D.C. insiders.
Chutkan could not be reached for comment.
Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, who serves as Chutkan’s boss on the federal bench and oversee legal and ethics breaches of all judges in the district, did not return calls for comment.