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Who is Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya in Trump’s Jan. 6 case?

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(WASHINGTON) — Former President Donald Trump is set to appear in federal court on Thursday on charges in connection with his alleged criminal attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election.


Trump was charged with four counts as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation: conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights.

The former president has been summoned to appear before Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya in Washington, D.C., for his arraignment on his third indictment.

Upadhyaya was appointed as a U.S. Magistrate judge on Sept. 7, 2022, according to her D.C. District Court biography. A U.S. magistrate judge is appointed by majority vote of the active district judges of the court. A full-time magistrate judge serves an eight-year term and has the authority to conduct preliminary proceedings in criminal cases, such as arraignments, among other duties.

Upadhyaya was born in born in Gujarat, India, and raised near Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Missouri and went on to receive her law degree from American University, Washington College of Law.

After law school, Upadhyaya clerked for two years for the Honorable Eric Washington, former chief judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals, then joined the law firm Venable LLP where she practiced complex commercial and administrative litigation. Through her pro bono practice, which was focused on representing indigent clients in post-conviction proceedings, Venable named Upadhyaya its Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year in 2006 and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project awarded her its Defender of Innocence Award in 2009.

Upadhyaya first joined the D.C. District Court in 2011, when she served as the first law clerk to the Honorable Robert Wilkins through 2012 during his prior tenure as a district judge. She then returned to Venable, where she ultimately became a partner and continued her litigation practice until being appointed to the bench.

From 2021 to 2022, Upadhyaya was appointed to serve on the D.C. District Court’s Committee on Grievances, which investigates complaints against attorneys.

The judge has served on the Board of Directors for the D.C. Access to Justice Foundation and Council for Court Excellence and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Future proceedings in Trump’s case have been assigned to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan.

The former president has denied all wrongdoing. In a brief interview with ABC News on Tuesday, Trump called the new charges a “pile on” and, like his other indictments, “ridiculous.”

He is expected to enter a plea of not guilty during his arraignment on Thursday.

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