Trump lawyer threatens prosecutions of Colorado judges — as they're bombarded with violent threats

Trump attorney Jesse Binnall says "real" DOJ would take action against them and "other judges" if Trump wins

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published December 21, 2023 1:56PM (EST)

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a "commit to caucus" event held at the Reno-Sparks convention center on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Reno, NV. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a "commit to caucus" event held at the Reno-Sparks convention center on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, in Reno, NV. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In the two days since booting Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot in Colorado, the state's Supreme Court has faced a bevy of threats — including some from members of the former president's legal team. 

During a Wednesday appearance on conservative network Real America's Voice, Jesse Binnall, an appellate lawyer for Trump, ripped the court's decision to disqualify the indicted billionaire based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who participated in an insurrection from holding federal office, agreeing with the host's suggestion that the ruling was a "huge judicial overreach." 

Binnall accused the Colorado Supreme Court, other courts and prosecutors across the country of using their powers to "pursue a political agenda" in an effort to "destroy American democracy." He told the conservative network that a future Justice Department could punish the Colorado justices who voted to axe Trump with federal prosecution and civil rights laws, suggesting a "real" DOJ would take action against them and "other judges" if Trump won the 2024 presidential contest.

"What needs to happen is there are already federal statutes on the books about violation of civil rights and the color of law," Binnal said, per Raw Story. "Every single one of these people — when we actually have a real Department of Justice — should be held to account for their decision to throw our justice system into the fire, effectively, and leave the rule of law that has made our country so special over the years, and instead decide to make decisions based on politics and not the law."

Binnall added that "there needs to be accountability."

Threats against the Colorado Supreme Court justices have also run rife across social media since it handed down the decision, according to a report obtained by NBC News.

Nonpartisan nonprofit Advance Democracy, which conducts public interest research, identified "significant violent rhetoric" against the judges and Democrats, often in response to Trump's posts about the ruling on his Truth Social platform. The organization found that some social media users even posted information for the justices, circulating their email addresses, phone numbers and office building addresses. 

"This ends when we kill these f—kers," one user wrote on a pro-Trump forum that several Jan. 6 rioters have used.

"What do you call 7 justices from the Colorado Supreme Court at the bottom of the ocean?" another asked. "A good start."

Violent posts, whose images and links were included in the report, also named a number of methods that could be used to kill those perceived as Trump's opponents, including hollow-point bullets, rifles, rope, bombs.

"Kill judges. Behead judges. Roundhouse kick a judge into the concrete," read an alarming post to a fringe website. "Slam dunk a judge's baby into the trashcan."

The threats follow a predictable pattern, one often seen after Trump is dealt a legal blow.

After the FBI searched Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort club in Florida, a man who had been seen at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, attacked the FBI field office in Cincinnati with a nail gun while holding an AR-15 style rifle. Following a Georgia grand jury's indictment of Trump, some of his supporters posted the grand jurors' addresses online. Other members of his base threatened U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan when she was assigned to oversee the former president's federal election interference case.

A federal appeals court acknowledged the pattern when deciding to uphold but narrow a gag order against Trump in that federal case this month, noting that those he publicly targets are often threatened and harassed. 

Daniel J. Jones, the president of Advance Democracy, told NBC News that the consistency of the violent threats and rhetoric was of special concern. 

“We are seeing significant violent language and threats being made against the Colorado justices and others perceived to be behind yesterday’s Colorado Supreme Court ruling," Jones, a former FBI investigator and staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the outlet in a statement. 

"The normalization of this type of violent rhetoric — and lack of remedial action by social media entities — is cause for significant concern," he added. "Trump’s statements, which have sought to delegitimize and politicize the actions of the courts, is serving as a key driver of the violent rhetoric. Political leaders on both sides of the political aisle need to speak out against these calls for violence, and social media platforms need to reassess their role in hosting and promoting this rhetoric.”

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Trump attorney Alina Habba, however, added to the pile-on of the Colorado justices on Wednesday. 

Habba decried the ruling as "not a constitutional decision" and asserted that it "will be overturned by the Supreme Court" in an interview with Breitbart News Daily.

“I have no question in my mind," added the lawyer, who has served as an attorney in Trump and his adult son's $250 million civil fraud lawsuit from the New York attorney general. Habba echoed Binnall's allegation that courts and prosecutors are making an effort to stop Trump's 2024 electoral bid by any means necessary.

“I find it ironic that there’s a Jan. 6 charge pending, but due process doesn’t matter because Colorado’s liberal judges want to take him off the ballot because they can’t beat Biden in the ballots,” she told Breitbart. 

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She further accused the four judges who voted to block Trump from the primary ballot of seeing themselves as “pioneers for the liberal radical left,” arguing their attempt to elevate themselves will backfire.

“You’re not a pioneer," Habba said, referring to the Colorado justices. "You’re going to look ridiculous. You do not understand due process. You do not understand the Constitution. You are literally a state-level court that is going to look ridiculous, okay, when the Supreme Court — whether you’re a federal judge or a state judge — when the Supreme Court overturns you, that’s not a good look."

Habba indicated she's putting full faith into the Supreme Court ruling in Trump's favor and allowing for the former president to receive fair treatment in the legal sphere. 

"Due process exists for a reason. There has to be some America left,” she explained. “I’m not even concerned that the Supreme Court will make the right decision here."

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Tatyana Tandanpolie is a staff writer at Salon. Born and raised in central Ohio, she moved to New York City in 2018 to pursue degrees in Journalism and Africana Studies at New York University. She is currently based in her home state and has previously written for local Columbus publications, including Columbus Monthly, CityScene Magazine and The Columbus Dispatch.

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2024 Election Aggregate Alina Habba Donald Trump Politics