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Embroiled former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who faces election subversion charges in Georgia, has failed to remove his case from state court and have it sent up to the federal level, according to a judge’s order issued on Friday.
The 31-page order by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones follows a similar denial he recently issued to Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows when Meadows also sought to move charges he faces in Georgia state court to federal court.
The case will stay in the Fulton County Superior Court where Clark, the former assistant attorney general at the Justice Department environmental and natural resources division, was indicted alongside Meadows, Donald Trump and 16 others this August on a host of criminal conspiracy and racketeering charges.
The charges allege that the defendants were engaged in a sprawling scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. Clark, specifically, is in hot water for a letter he wrote in December 2020. The proposed letter, intended for members of the Georgia legislature and other election officials in the state, falsely declared that the Justice Department was concerned about potential voter fraud in Georgia. Clark’s proposed memo then called on officials to convene the state’s general assembly and consider advancing an inauthentic slate of electors for Trump.
Clark has argued that he was acting as a federal officer at the time he wrote the letter but on Friday, Judge Jones did not agree, finding Clark’s conduct held no federal purpose. Clark also tried removing the special grand jury proceedings that preceded the indictment by claiming they were a civil matter and not a criminal one, but the judge disagreed with that, too.
“Other than his counsel’s vague and uncertain assertions, the court has no evidence that the president directed Clark to work on election-related matters generally or to write the December 28 letter to Georgia State Election Officials on their election procedures,” Jones wrote on Friday.
The judge also wrote that his order took no position on the merits of Clark’s defense or whatever the prosecution may argue.
Also indicted in Georgia are Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro and others. Judge Jones is presently weighing requests to move charges from state to federal court from at least three other defendants at this time, according to The Associated Press.
Meadows has appealed the order denying his request for removal to a federal court. All have pleaded not guilty.
On Thursday night, Trump’s attorneys submitted a court filing indicating they would not seek to move his case from Georgia state court to federal court.
By moving the charges from state to federal court under the auspice that he was acting in his official federal capacity, Clark was angling for a fast dismissal of the case. By moving the case to federal court, it would also have avoided going through a televised trial, which will be the case at the state level.
Staying in state court also means that pardons are off the table should Trump be reelected president in 2024 or if any other president who may have sympathy for him comes into power.
Clark, who is represented by Harry MacDougald, can still appeal.
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