The federal judge overseeing former President Donald J. Trump’s trial on charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election rejected on Friday a request by Mr. Trump’s lawyers to remove language from his indictment describing the role he played in the violence that erupted at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The ruling by the judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, was an initial step toward allowing prosecutors in the case to introduce evidence at trial that members of the mob that stormed the Capitol that day believed they were acting at Mr. Trump’s instruction.
Last month, Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked Judge Chutkan to strike any mention of the riot at the Capitol from the 45-page indictment filed against him this summer in Federal District Court in Washington. The lawyers argued that since none of the four charges in the case explicitly accused Mr. Trump of inciting the violence that day, any reference to the mob attack would be prejudicial and irrelevant.
Prosecutors in the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, shot back that even if they had not filed formal incitement charges, the riot would be instrumental in their efforts to prove one of their central allegations: that Mr. Trump had plotted to obstruct the certification of the election that was taking place at a proceeding at the Capitol on Jan. 6.