Washington — Special counsel Jack Smith and U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, two key figures in the 2020 presidential election case against former President Donald Trump, were victims of apparent “swatting” attempts in recent weeks, joining a growing number of public figures targeted with the hoax phone calls.

Local police were called to Smith’s home near Washington, D.C., on Christmas Day after a false report of a shooting, though they were informed he is under federal protection and did not respond. NBC News first reported the incident at Smith’s residence.

The FBI has warned that “swatting” calls are dangerous to law enforcement and victims surprised by authorities descending upon their homes. Dispatching officers in response to a call can also be costly, the bureau said in a 2022 notice, and take them away from emergencies. The FBI launched a national database to track “swatting” incidents last year.

The report of a swatting attempt aimed at Smith came just a day after U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the 2020 presidential election case involving Trump, was targeted in a separate apparent “swatting” attempt at her home late Sunday night, three sources with knowledge of the incident confirmed to CBS News.

Law enforcement was dispatched in response to a false call of a shooting at a Washington, D.C., residence, according to local police and public audio from the fire department. The sources confirmed to CBS News the home belonged to Chutkan, who was home at the time, and property records list her as the owner.

Smith’s office and the U.S. Marshals Service, which protects federal judges, declined to comment.

According to the audio, the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department responded to a call about a shooting at the address of a home in Washington belonging to Chutkan. Several minutes after they arrived at the address, a first responder with the fire department told the dispatcher that they had thoroughly searched the area with police and “found nothing.”

An incident report from the Metropolitan Police Department shows officers responded to a call referring to a shooting around 10 p.m. local time. After arriving on the scene, a woman unidentified in the report “advised that she was not injured and that there was no one in her home,” D.C. police said. Law enforcement cleared the home and nothing was found, according to the report.

The incidents involving Smith and Chutkan, who sits on the federal district court in Washington, come after several lawmakers were the victims of “swatting” attempts at their homes. The practice typically involves hoax phone calls placed to law enforcement that prompt police to be dispatched to the homes of prominent figures.

Others who have been targeted in swatting attempts include Sen. Rick Scott, a Florida Republican, and GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Brandon Williams of New York.

The opening days of 2024 have also brought a series of bomb threats to at least five different state capitols, prompting building closures and evacuations. No explosives were found by law enforcement after searches of the targeted state capitols.

Chutkan is presiding over the case brought against Trump by Smith over alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The former president has pleaded not guilty to the four charges he faces.

The trial in the case is set to begin March 4, though proceedings are paused for now while Trump pursues an appeal on whether he is entitled to broad immunity from federal prosecution. Chutkan denied Trump’s request to dismiss the charges on immunity grounds, and the D.C. Circuit is weighing the matter.

The judge separately received a threatening voicemail in early August, shortly after a federal grand jury indicted Trump. The caller said “we are coming to kill you,” and “you will be targeted personally, publicly, your family, all of it,” according to court filings. A Texas woman was arrested and charged with threatening Chutkan.

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